2017/18 Season HUB Weekly Farm Update as at 20th February 2018

Hub second crop kale looking good:  Feb 20th

General comments

Moisture and a soil temperature around 15oC has promoted excellent growth, lifting APC over 2600kgDM/ha. These conditions combined with the N application on the winter crops last week, has also promoted good visual crop growth (though this has not been measured).

Production per cow has lifted slightly and there may be an opportunity to remove surplus pasture for conservation (baleage) if current growth rates continue.

Thanks for the opportunity to meet so many stakeholders at the Waimumu Fielddays last week; it was very successful with lots of contacts and interest.

Many thanks to DairyNZ for hosting the Hub on their site and assisting with Hub enquiries. Special thanks also to Dr Dawn Dalley from DairyNZ who was available to discuss Hub research and ‘future plan’ questions.

Critical Targets this week

  • Follow up contacts and enquiries from Waimumu Southern Fielddays
  • Final planning stages on the 4 different farm systems for the next 3 years; watch this space
  • Looking at applying a fungicide spray to half of the Hub fodder beet after warm, wet conditions make ideal conditions for fungus problems. Two sprays, 30 days apart are required for best results. This combined with a 42-day grazing with-hold has prompted the decision to only treat half the crops. This provides the flexibility to graze some of the fodder beet in late lactation if DM yields allow.
  • Complete a yield assessment on the winter crops to aid decisions around winter grazing and late lactation feeding

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 188,710
Total Milksolids (MTD) kgMS 16,469
Total Milksolids (last 7 days) kgMS 6,685
Average per cow daily production (last 7 days) kgMS/cow/day 1.5
Per ha production (last 7 days) kgMS/ha 3.9
Other (to the factory)
Protein:Fat Ratio (7-day avg.) % 0.78
Milk Urea (7-day avg.) mg/dl 33.52
SCC (7-day avg.) cells/ml 109,000
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.


R1 heifers are behind a wire rotating around the platform, no supplements offered.

R2 heifers on the support block are also being rotationally grazed with no supplement offered.

As APC has lifted supplements offered has dropped –

Supplements being offered to all cows are currently:

  • 1kg/cow/milking of PKE/Barley 50:50 mix in the shed;
  • 2.0 kg/cow/day of PKE in the paddock;

At these rates of PKE we are still recording a FEI target of A.

Table 2: Feed Offered

Milkers – Pasture offered kgDM/cow/day 13.5
Milkers - Fodder Beet kgDM/cow/day 0
Milkers - Pasture Silage kgDM/cow/day 0
Milkers - Concentrates – 3 in 2 Cows (shed) kgDM/cow/day 1.5 per day
Milkers - Concentrates – 3 in 2 Cows (pdk) kgDM/cow/day 2.0 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 2610
Growth Rate (avg. over 4 farmlets) kgDM/ha/day 95
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

Thanks to those that called in to see us last week at the Fielddays!

Table 4: Fertiliser & Nitrogen Metrics

Nitrogen (Urea only)(last 7 days) Unit
Area (Winter crop) ha
Rate kg/N/ha
Fertiliser (last 7 days) Unit
Area ha 0
Rate kg/ha 0
Climate conditions
Rainfall (total last 7 days) mm 20.6
Soil Temp (7-day average) @10am °C 14.5

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