2017/18 Season HUB Weekly Farm Update as at 13th February 2018

An efficient operation: N application on the winter crops with thanks to Heliventures and Ryal Bush Transport.

General comments

What a difference a week makes after some moisture! The rainfall plus recently applied N has seen growth rates rebound to be closer to what we would expect for the region at this time of the year.

The Hub has seen a big lift in APC from 1760 kgDM/ha to 2076 kgDM/ha but the farm team will continue to hold the current round length of approx. 29 days. As APC lifts the team will gradually reduce supplements offered, firstly in the shed then in the paddock. We have approx. 2 weeks of PKE left in the silage bunker to use at the current feeding levels.

There are no plans to consider any move back to twice-a-day milking this late in the season. The Hub has been on 3in2 milking for 6 weeks. If we find ourselves with surplus pasture some supplement will be harvested. Otherwise the plan is to move into a 44 day round by mid-March.

A fungicide spray will be applied to the winter crop areas this week based on recommendations via PGG Wrightson. Warm weather after the rain has promoted conditions suitable for fungal issues, highlighted by the appearance this week of mushrooms on farm! Good news if you like em!

Critical Targets this week

  • Still holding the current round length
  • Urea on crops (helicopter)
  • Farm maintenance
  • Second Mycoplasma bovis test sample due this week

Herd & Production

Four herds split evenly on age, BW / PW and on the winter crop trial treatment groups to ensure the herds are as even as possible. Each herd allocated a farmlet corresponding to their herd tag colour Green, Blue, Yellow and Pink. Farmlets have paddocks allocated so each herd has equal walking distance from the shed and the same proportion of each soil type and equal proportions of pastures in the FVI trial (forage value trial – refer web site section on research).

Staph Aureus has been identified in approximately 40 cows at The Hub. A high bulk SCC and cows not reacting quickly to treatment encouraged investigation leading to this diagnosis. Infected cows have drafted out and are being milked last to prevent the spread of this infection.

Table 1: Herd & Production

Herds on Milking Platform Unit Value
Milkers - 3 in 2 cows 620
Milkers - OAD cows 0
Colostrum cows 0
Springers cows 0
Sick mob (1 x penicillin, In the vat: 2 x lames and 28 x HSCC cows) All but 4 in vat cows 31
Culls / deaths cows 0
Current Stocking Rate (platform) cows/ha 2.6
Production (to the factory) (13/02/18)
Total Milksolids (YTD) kgMS 181,131
Total Milksolids (MTD) kgMS 8,882
Total Milksolids (last 7 days) kgMS 5,377
Average per cow daily production (last 7 days) kgMS/cow/day 1.4
Per ha production (last 7 days) kgMS/ha 3.64
Other (to the factory)
Protein:Fat Ratio (7-day avg.) % 0.75
Milk Urea (7-day avg.) mg/dl 25.0
SCC (7-day avg.) cells/ml 150,000
Fat Evaluation Index (FEI) A
Fonterra 17/18 Forecast - as at 7th Dec 17 $/kgMS $6.40

Feed Management

The four herds are to remain on their allocated farmlets at all times. The 2017/18 season aim is to feed all cows in a similar manner all season. Any differences to be recorded.  Decision rules for Cows of BCS 4 or less are that they can be fed extra supplement in the shed as required by the farm team and be milked OAD but will remain in their allocated herds for research purposes. The concentrate in the shed is a 50:50 mix of PKE and barley.


The farm team have re-grouped all R1 heifers back into one mob and are training them to an electric wire. They are getting break feed one paddock at a time with baleage added as supplement to pasture.

Supplements being offered to all cows currently is:

  • 1.5kg/cow/milking of PKE/Barley 50:50 mix in the shed;
  • 1.0 kg/cow/day of PKE in the paddock;
  • Remainder being made up of pasture silage to meet the 16 kgDM/cow/day intake target.

At these rates of PKE we are still recording a FEI target of A. The Hub did however slip into a B rating for one pick up and currently is on the line between A and B. We target to remain in category A for FEI testing.

As APC lifts supplements will gradually be lowered starting this week. In shed feeding will be cut back first from the current levels of 1.5kg/head PKE/Barley 50:50 mix to 1kg/head then potentially further cuts depending on pasture growth. Next supplement to cut back will be the PKE fed in the paddock. This is stored in a silage bunker with a cover over it so we want to use it up as its quality will deteriorate over time if not used. Lastly, the silage will be reduced gradually depending on pasture growth and APC, final amount to be fed out will be determined over the next 4 weeks.

Table 2: Feed Offered

Milkers – Pasture offered kgDM/cow/day 7.5
Milkers - Fodder Beet kgDM/cow/day 0
Milkers - Pasture Silage kgDM/cow/day 6.0
Milkers - Concentrates – 3 in 2 Cows (shed) kgDM/cow/day 1.5 per milking
Milkers - Concentrates – 3 in 2 Cows (pdk) kgDM/cow/day 1.0 per day
Milkers - Concentrates - OAD Cows kgDM/cow/day 0

Land, Pasture, Crop & Silage Management

Total area is 327ha(eff), 32.5ha(eff) young stock block and 294ha(eff) platform. Winter crop is grown on both blocks for all stock. Crop rotation is two years in crop then re-grass. PGG Wrightson grass cultivars used are Rely, Platform and Excess, all diploids. Where target residuals are missed, topping after grazing is the tool the farm team use as needed.

Table 3: Land, Pasture, Crop & Silage Metrics

Pre - Graze cover target kgDM/ha 2700
Post - Graze cover target kgDM/ha 1500
Average Pasture Cover (avg. over 4 farmlets) kgDM/ha 2076
Growth Rate (avg. over 4 farmlets) kgDM/ha/day 64
Rotation Length (avg. over 4 farmlets) days 29
Area Available for grazing (milkers) ha 253
Regrassing Area (out of rotation) ha 0
Baleage/Silage Area (out of rotation) ha 0
Crop Area (out of rotation) ha 46
Aeration Area ha 0.0
Total platform effective ha 300
Young Stock (not included in rotation) ha 29.0

Come and see us at the DairyNZ stand, site A189 in the shed.

Table 4: Fertiliser & Nitrogen Metrics

Nitrogen (Urea only)(last 7 days) Unit
Area (Winter crop) ha 46
Rate kg/N/ha 46
Fertiliser (last 7 days) Unit
Area ha 0
Rate kg/ha 0
Climate conditions
Rainfall (total last 7 days) mm 12.5
Soil Temp (7-day average) @10am °C 15.5

Reproductive Performance


6 week in calf rate confirmed at 79% of cows scanned. More info with a breakdown to come.

Table 5: Reproduction Metrics

Planned start of Mating (PSM) Unit Target Actual
Mixed Aged Cows Date 29-Oct-17
2016 Born Heifers Date 21-Oct-17
Submission Rate % 90 91
6 Week in-calf rate % 78 79
Empty Rate % 10 TBC

Research Update (fortnightly)

No update this week

Research Proposals

The SDH welcome research proposals for any sampling or research on the SDH, these are assessed by the Research Advisory Committee (RAC). Just send your request or ask for information via guy.michaels@southerndairyhub.co.nz

For more information check out the DairyNZ link:


People Management