Weekly Farm Summary

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 Growth rate well below demand; extending rotation to approx. 40 days by reducing milking frequency; lucerne baleage on farm will be fed out to herds over the next 2 weeks; feed b
Milk Production Production declining, particularly for the fodder beet herds with feed the lower quality supplement in their system; all herds moving to 3 n 2 milking from Mon
People Team conquering the feeding complexities well! Implementing Covid policy;
Animals Initial indications for not-in-calf rate are promising; 20 culls left the farm this week, 6 in milk and 14 to the works.
Environment No nitrogen fertiliser as conditions too dry; Will start effluent applications again this week targeting Std Kale pdks & new grasses where we can
Wintering Buffer strips & one Italian pdk have been conserved; crops progressing well despite moisture deficit; purchased bales flowing in and onto paddocks
Research Botanical dissections completed; other activities business as usual
Planning for new farm systems comparison with infrastructure is in full swing

Feed

Principles of Pasture Management this week

Pasture Quality Quality has declined this week, especially in the lower terrace paddocks where the dry is really starting to bite; Still seeing milk production response when grazing new grass paddocks suggesting pasture protein levels are still low. Will introduce our limited supply of lucerne baleage for the next 2 weeks

For the 4th year in a row the LI farmlets have had a higher proportion of clover in their pastures, however a high amount of dead in the pastures this summer has reduced the overall %
Growth rate Management Pushing rotation length to 40 days

Moving to 3 n 2 milking from Monday;

Reducing pasture demand by culling more empty in milk cows and increasing supplementary feed
Nitrogen Strategy Have delayed the start of the final application of N fertiliser to the LI farmlets and suspended applications to the Std farmlets until we see an improvement in soil moisture levels
Standard
Kale
Pink
Low Impact
Kale
Blue
Standard
Fodder beet
Green
Low Impact
Fodder beet
Yellow
Quantity Growth only 57% of demand Growth only 47% of demand Growth only 37% of demand Growth only 51% of demand
Quality No long paddocks, hitting residuals well; pastures very dry No long paddocks, hitting residuals well; pastures very dry No long paddocks, hitting residuals well; pastures very dry No long paddocks, hitting residuals well; pastures very dry
Surplus Management None None None None
Deficit Management 3.5kg inshed (same as last week)
1.6km DM baleage
3.0kg inshed (same as last week)
0.8kg DM baleage
2.6kg inshed (down from 3 last week)
Baleage 2.0kg/cow/day
3.0kg inshed (up from 1.0kg from last week)
Baleage 3.0kg/cow/day
Rotation Length Extend rotation to 40 days Extend rotation to 40 days Extend rotation to 40 days Extend rotation to 40 days

Milk Production

Principles of Milk production management this week

Milk Production Milk production has had a downward trend this week but still a lot of fluctuation between days within herds.

Std Kale herd has now exceeded 1000 kg MS/ha

We are still seeing improvements in milk production when the cows are moving through new grass paddocks
Key influences on milk production Both pasture quality quantity have most likely impacted on milk production this week.

The gap between fodder beet and kale herds has reduced as the proportion of pasture in the diet increases through reduced demand from culling 5-6% from all herds.
Cow Management Cow Management Rules:
1: Reducing milking frequency to 3 n 2 milking with 10, 19, 19 milking interval split
2: Off loading culls as quickly as possible and concentrating available feed on cows staying for next season
3: The first group of high risk low BCS cows have been identified; if we dont see a lift in BCS over the next 2 weeks with the change in milking frequency these animals will be dried off
Standard
Kale
Pink
Low Impact
Kale
Blue
Standard
Fodder beet
Green
Low Impact
Fodder beet
Yellow
kg Milksolids per cow this week / (last week) 1.56 / (1.63) 1.47 / (1.65) 1.48 / (1.51) 1.46 / (1.56)
kg Milksolids per ha this year / (this time last year) 1006 / (1034) 887 / (837) 940 / (986) 840 / (812)
Season to date compared to last year Down 3.0% total milk
Half paddock extra in grass this year affects KPI
Up 5.9% total milk
One paddock less in grass this year affects KPI
Down 4.7% total milk Up 3.5% total milk
One paddock less in grass this year affects KPI
Cows needing OAD BCS<4 (% herd) 28 cows (16%) 29 cows (17%) 30 cows (16.9%) 8 cows (5.4%)
Animal health peculiarities None None None None

Animals

Reproductive Performance The second pregnancy scan has been completed and initial indications of not-in-calf rates are promising.
This season was the first on the farm with the Allflex behaviour collars. These were used in combination with visual observations to identify cows for mating
Cows were metrichecked in blocks based on calving date and treated if required
Premating heats were recorded to allow identification of non cycling animals before planned start of mating
Two rounds of CIDR intervention were implemented to kickstart non cycling animals
Cows were mated once per day following the morning milking
AI was used for 5.5 weeks followed by cross bred bulls for a total mating period of 10.5 weeks; Numbering the bulls allowed them to be rested and rotated around all 4 herds on a regular basis
First scan completed mid January
Second scan 25th February
Reproductive performance as 3 wk submission rate, 6wk incalf rate and empty rate has improved year on year for the last 3 years; a result we attribute to aggressive BCS management in autumn and winter to ensure all animals calve at their target BCS




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  

Figure 1: Impact of dry conditions on grazing conditions

Figure 2: Urine patches evident in an italian paddock that has only had 1 nip off grazing this season

Figure 3: SDH soil moisture profile for the last month

Figure 4: Latest SPACE pasture mass assessment (3 Mar) – dark green pdks are all either crops or Italians for winter