2017/18 Season HUB Weekly Farm Update as at 14th November 2017

General comments

Cooler temperatures last week impacted soil temperature and growth rates which will bounce back quick this week with good weather predicted.

  • Last 12ha of fodder beet planted this week (14/11)
  • Kale ground ready to plant (weather and contractor’s availability dependant)
  • 29ha(platform) and 11ha (young stock block) of baleage to harvest this week and place onto crop paddocks
  • 76% herd submitted over 17days (18% herd CIDR’s)
  • The Hub Field day on the 14th November was a great success with 125 people registered as attending. Updates were given from the AgResearch and DairyNZ research teams on current and planned research for the farm (Handout will be available on the website next 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).

Table 1: Herd & Production

Herds on Milking Platform Unit Value
Milkers - TAD cows 626
Milkers - OAD cows 53
Colostrum cows
Springers cows
Sick mob (Not in vat) cows 12
Culls cows 7
Current Stocking Rate (platform) cows/ha 3.3
Production (to the factory) (6/11/17)
Total Milksolids (YTD) kgMS 91,014
Total Milksolids (MTD) kgMS 14,255
Total Milksolids (last 7 days) kgMS 8,245
Average per cow daily production (last 7 days) kgMS/cow/day 1.78
Per ha production (last 7 days) kgMS/ha 4.38
Other (to the factory)
Protein:Fat Ratio (7-day avg.) % .79
Milk Urea (7-day avg.) mg/dl 19.80
SCC (7-day avg.) cells/ml 159,000
Fat Evaluation Index (FEI) A
Fonterra 17/18 Forecast - as at 27 July 17 $/kgMS $6.75

Feed Management 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. OAD (BCS of 4 or less) cows can be fed extra supplement in the shed as required by the farm team but will remain with their allocated herds for research purposes. Concentrate in shed is a 50:50 mix of PKE and barley.

Lifted fodder beet finished.

During the recent wet weather all cows were offered 1.5kg/c/d PKE:Barley mix in the shed which stopped at the start of the week. Cows less than BCS 4 are offered the 1.5kg/c/d. Topping behind cows continues.

Table 2: Feed Offered

Milkers – Pasture offered kgDM/cow/day 18
Milkers - Fodder Beet kgDM/cow/day 0
Milkers - Pasture Silage kgDM/cow/day 0.00
Milkers - Concentrates - TAD Cows kgDM/cow/day 0.00
Milkers - Concentrates - OAD Cows kgDM/cow/day

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.

The remaining 12ha of fodder beet planted on the 14th November. Kale ground ready to sow possibly this week.

Table 3: Land, Pasture, Crop & Silage Metrics

Pre - Graze cover target kgDM/ha 3100
Post - Graze cover target kgDM/ha 1600
Average Pasture Cover (avg. over 4) kgDM/ha 2638
Growth Rate (avg. over 4 farmlets) kgDM/ha/day 53
Rotation Length (avg. over 4 farmlets) days 24
Area Available for grazing (milkers) ha 205
Regrassing Area (out of rotation) ha 20.3
Baleage/Silage Area (out of rotation) ha 29
Crop Area (out of rotation) ha 46.4
Aeration Area ha 0.0
Total platform effective ha 300
Young Stock (not included in rotation) ha 29.0

Fertiliser & Nitrogen

Whole Farm Spring Boost Fertiliser (as per Ravensdown recommended Agronomy Plan) will be applied weekly following the cows.

37 15 15 13

Table 4: Fertiliser & Nitrogen Metrics

Nitrogen (Urea only)(last 7 days) Unit
Area ha
Rate kgN/ha
Total Nitrogen applied to date kgN/ha
Fertiliser (last 7 days) Unit
Area ha 27
Rate kg/ha 185
Climate conditions
Rainfall (total last 7 days) mm 56.5
Soil Temp (7-day average) @10am °C 9.6

Reproductive Performance


  • 90% submission rate 3 weeks
  • 78% 6-week in calf rate

76% herd submitted over first 17 days

18% herd CIDR’ so far

On average 30 cows per day are required to achieve target submission rate.

The calving spread of 17 weeks (spring 2017) means a focus on bringing our later calving cows forward over time.

Table 5: Reproduction Metrics

Planned start of Mating (PSM) Unit
Mixed Aged Cows Date 29-Oct-17
2016 Born Heifers Date 21-Oct-17

Young Stock Management

R2 heifers are now all on the young stock block after spending some time on the platform over AB for ease of access to the yards.

R1 heifers are being weaned as they hit 85kgLW and will start being transferred over the river next week. Later born heifers are being fed a mixture of milk from the ‘withheld’ herd and powder to finish them off, along with meal.

Research Update (fortnightly)

Forage Value Index:

Current measurements

Pasture growth recordings, herbage sampling and analysis.

Daily recording of grazing, effluent applications, fertiliser application, urea application, harvest for supplement, topping to waste

Winter Feeding Trial:

Update from research: DairyNZ Senior tech on farm Willis Ritchie

The past fortnight has been busy, including arrivals and departures.

Georgia Phillips, our casual research technician, left on the 31st of October to head home for her lacrosse season. The technician team have missed her presence.

Nicole Hammond, who is a part time research technician and graduate developer within DairyNZ, returned on Monday the 13th of November from her holiday.

Over the past two weeks we have completed our fortnightly herd test and body condition scoring, along with weekly pasture measurements and snip cuts of our forage value index paddocks.

The snips of the forage value index are collected at 1 pm every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday as the FVI paddocks come up for grazing. Samples are sorted for botanical composition before being oven dried. A sample is also collected for quality determination by NIRS (Near InfraRed Spectrometry) and dried before being sent away for analysis.

Regards Willis


Requests to the Research Advisory Committee (RAC) are possible to consider projects just send your request or ask for information via guy.michaels@southerndairyhub.co.nz

For more information check out the DairyNZ link:


People Management

8:2 & 8:3 roster

The farm team have started Lean through DairyNZ requiring fortnightly meetings off farm. A very busy time to be off farm but with a need to develop new systems for everything we do there is no better time to start this.

With the research requirements on the team we are advertising for a new staff member to join us. Normal daily jobs have double the workload here (for example we have 4 herds to get in each day rather than 2) which has placed a strain on the current team who have done a fantastic job.