Weekly Farm Summary 28th April 2022

Farm-system impacts of: Kalve vs Fodder beet for winter AND reducing N loss to water by 30%. 

Cows & Milk Analysis

Business Area Current Status
Feed Average pasture cover has lifted in all farmlets, with growth rates at or above target for the first time since the autumn feed budgets were created. 33% reduction in supplements for all herds this week as pre-graze covers lift, rotation length remains the same, and 80-100 cows being dried off based on BCS, production and SCC.
Milk Production Production continues to be significantly driven by pasture quality in individual paddocks. Milk solid percentage increased when litres decreased during the period of rough weather during the week.
People Covid implications are no longer affecting the team. With 1 team member moving on at the end of the season, interviews are underway to fill the position.
Animals BCS was completed this week, showing a large spread across the farmlets. The LI Kale herd has both the highest number of fat cows but also the highest number of skinny cows. Lameness incidents are increasing, largely due to wet lanes.
Environment Effluent applications continue however these will cease around the 15th of May unless soil temperature and moisture are still in the safe zone for applications.
Wintering Winter grazing paddock plans to be completed on A3 sheets. These will include the number of cows per mob, grazing direction, how many bales they need a day etc. Face length measured and flags erected to mark where subdividing fences will go.
Research Ag Research have been on farm this week finishing the last of the visual soil assessments looking at soil structure. This will aid in the process of re-randomising paddocks for the new farm systems trial.

Feed

Principles of Pasture Management this week

Feed Quality & Quantity Dry matter % in the pasture is now at 17.5% which has dropped from mid 20's, however that is common at this time of the year and especially following the rain and turn in growing conditions. Residual management crucial as many of these paddocks are on their last grazing for the season.

Cows to be dried off next Wednesday will follow milkers in paddocks that need the residual taken lower, to ensure that clumps don't remain and quailty comes back well over the winter.
Growth rate Management Growth rates have lifted across the farm with the Std Kale farmlet growing more than the autumn target for the first time in over 1 month. Increase the pasture proportion of the diet to 11kgDM.

Supplement use will be monitored closely alongside residuals to ensure substitution is minimised. Depending on growth, supplements will be removed to maintaing a good wedge with baleage coming out first, then inshed feeding. Fodder beet will stay in at 2 kg DM/cow/day
Nitrogen Strategy Effluent applications continue to get the pond as low as possible before the middle of May when conditions will likely require applications to cease.
Standard
Kale
Pink
Low Impact
Kale
Blue
Standard
Fodder beet
Green
Low Impact
Fodder beet
Yellow
Quantity Increasing pasture proportion with increasing growth rates. Increasing pasture proportion with increasing growth rates. Increasing pasture proportion with increasing growth rates. Increasing pasture proportion with increasing growth rates.
Quality DM% is now at 17.5% DM% is now at 17.5% DM% is now at 17.5% DM% is now at 17.5%
Surplus Management None None None None
Deficit Management 3.2kg inshed
3.1kg DM baleage
3.0kg inshed
3.1kg DM baleage
0.8kg inshed
2 kg FB
3.2kg DM baleage
1kg inshed
2 kg FB
3.2 kg DM baleage
Rotation Length 44 Days 42 Days 44 Days 41 Days

Milk Production

Principles of Milk production management this week

Milk Production Milk produciton continues to fluctuate between 1.2 and 1.3 kg MS/cow/day across all herds.

SCC in in the fodder beet herd has increased this week. High SCC cows will be identified from this weeks herd test & low producing repeat offenders from all herds will be dried off.
Key influences on milk production Milk production continues to respond dramatically when herds move through paddocks of differing quality. However, with good regrowth this week, these effects should subside over the coming weeks.

Windy and wet weather saw a reduction in volume, however milk solids percentage increased at the same time.
Cow Management Dry off has been booked in and 80 cows will be dried off next Wednesday. Key dry off triggers include BCS gain (anything having to gain more than 0.35 BCS before 1 June), high SCC and low production.

The remainder of the herd is booked in for dry-off on the 23rd of May at this stage.
Standard
Kale
Pink
Low Impact
Kale
Blue
Standard
Fodder beet
Green
Low Impact
Fodder beet
Yellow
kg Milksolids per cow this week / (last week) 1.37 / (1.43) 1.22 / (1.25) 1.30 / (1.32) 1.29 / (1.33)
kg Milksolids per ha this year / (this time last year) 1217 / (1259) 1052 / (1031) 1133 / (1206) 996 / (991)
Season to date compared to last year Down 3.5% total milk Up 2% total milk Down 6% total milk 0% fluctuation to last year
Cows needing OAD BCS<4 (% herd) 41 cows (25% of herd) 29 cows (22%) 13 cows (8%) 21 cows (16%)
Animal health peculiarities None None SCC increase SCC increase

Environment

Key Summary Coming out of a very challenging summer and early autumn, it's wonderful to see good regrowth behind the cows. With soil temperatures currently 3 deg C higher than the same time last year we will hopefully still have good growing conditions for a few weeks yet.

It's a pivotal time of year to know and understand the environmental outcomes for our on-farm decision making. Future farming will offer us high accountability for efficiency of nutrient management in the shoulders of the season.

We had some excellent discussion with Dale and Keiran from Ravensdown yesterday and got us thinking about sharing our decision rules.
Nitrogen
Reducing nitrogen loss (dairynz.co.nz)
We use a decision rule geared around soil temperatures to govern our autumn nitrogen applications. Our rule is nitrogen applications cease by 10th April, leaving a 6 week window where actively growing plants have enough supportive soil temperature and moisture to use that nitrogen for growth. Anything the plant cannot use by the 20th of May will likely be flushed out of the pasture root zone by drainage over the winter period
Effluent For the lower rates of N present we have a longer window for effluent applications, but we are now approaching the point that the plants won't be able to uptake the nitrogen from effluent and soils will be nearer to field capacity, so our applications will cease until soil warms up to over 6.5deg C in September.
Gibberellic acids
Gibberellic acid - Dairy NZ (dairynz.co.nz)
Gibberellic acids can be beneficial at key times of the season, but for us now we are too late in the season to get the full benefit from their use. Growing conditions should be promoting the plants to produce their own giberellic acids, reducing likely responses to applied gibberellic acid. Additional growth from GA's should be eaten within 3-4 weeks of application so with our longer rotations now it will be difficult to achieve this.




Farm system impacts: of Kale vs Fodder beet for winter AND Reducing N loss to water by 30%.
Kale, Winters on kale - in-shed feed available. Fodder beet, winters on Beet, Beet as lactation supp. Low impact (LI) limited Max 50kg N/ha/year vs Std 193kg N/ha/year


Farm system impacts: of Kale vs Fodder beet for winter AND Reducing N loss to water by 30%.
Kale, Winters on kale - in-shed feed available. Fodder beet, winters on Beet, Beet as lactation supp. Low impact (LI) limited Max 50kg N/ha/year vs Std 193kg N/ha/year


Farm system impacts: of Kale vs Fodder beet for winter AND Reducing N loss to water by 30%.
Kale, Winters on kale - in-shed feed available. Fodder beet, winters on Beet, Beet as lactation supp. Low impact (LI) limited Max 50kg N/ha/year vs Std 193kg N/ha/year


Farm system impacts: of Kale vs Fodder beet for winter AND Reducing N loss to water by 30%.
Kale, Winters on kale - in-shed feed available. Fodder beet, winters on Beet, Beet as lactation supp. Low impact (LI) limited Max 50kg N/ha/year vs Std 193kg N/ha/year

Farm-system impacts of: Kale vs Fodder beet for winter
AND Reducing N loss to water by 30%.

NB: Hatched bars are 2021 new grass paddocks being managed on a faster rotation

Farm-system impacts of: Kale vs Fodder beet for winter
AND Reducing N loss to water by 30%.

Figure 1: Kale crop and swede crop being yielded this week.

Figure 2: Calves at the runoff in great condition heading into winter. Diet consisting of grass, baleage and PKE.