2017/18 Season HUB Weekly Farm Update as at 2nd February 2018

All smiles this week with a bit of moisture (55.6mm rainfall on the 2nd Feb)

General comments

All smiles this week with a welcome rain of 55.6mm on the 2nd Feb. Urea had been applied to 92ha at a rate of 25 units/N/ha a couple of days before the rain so this will help the pastures respond from the dry period. The current round length on the platform will be maintained at 30 days and pasture growth monitored. As growth increases supplements will continue to be offered, giving the pastures time to respond to the moisture and N, to lift average pasture cover (APC).

Critical Targets this week

  • Continue to monitor SCC
  • FarmTune workshop

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 651
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) cows 31
Culls / deaths cows 0
Current Stocking Rate (platform) cows/ha 2.6
Production (to the factory) (19/01/18)
Total Milksolids (YTD) kgMS 172,250
Total Milksolids (MTD) kgMS 29,487
Total Milksolids (last 7 days) kgMS 6,681
Average per cow daily production (last 7 days) kgMS/cow/day 1.5
Per ha production (last 7 days) kgMS/ha 4.1
Other (to the factory)
Protein:Fat Ratio (7-day avg.) % 0.81
Milk Urea (7-day avg.) mg/dl 21.88
SCC (7-day avg.) cells/ml 149,000
Fat Evaluation Index (FEI) A
Fonterra 17/18 Forecast - as at 27 July 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.


Average pasture cover was measured and had lifted from 1770kgDM/ha to 1915kgDM/ha. This was unexpected and as mentioned may be a result of a small amount of moisture from the week before.

Residuals are holding between 1500 – 1550kgDM/ha, with approx. 7 – 8 kgDM/cow/day of pasture being offered.

Supplements being offered to all cows are:

  • 1.0 kg/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.

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
Milkers - Concentrates – 3 in 2 Cows (shed) kgDM/cow/day 1.0 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.


The R1 heifers have all been split into mobs of approx. 10 animals and spread evenly across the platform.

DM% results are back for the silage stack remaining on farm at 29% DM. ME was not measured at this time.

Table 3: Land, Pasture, Crop & Silage Metrics

There is a question on the growth rate recorded this week of 44kgDM/ha/day which is more than expected. However, this has been recorded on other farms and it follows 7.2mm of rain the week before.

Pre - Graze cover target kgDM/ha 2700
Post - Graze cover target kgDM/ha 1500
Average Pasture Cover (avg. over 4 farmlets) kgDM/ha 1915
Growth Rate (avg. over 4 farmlets) kgDM/ha/day 44
Rotation Length (avg. over 4 farmlets) days 30
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

Table 4: Fertiliser & Nitrogen Metrics

Nitrogen (Urea only)(last 7 days) Unit
Area ha 92
Rate kg/N/ha 25.3
Fertiliser (last 7 days) Unit
Area ha 0
Rate kg/ha 0
Climate conditions
Rainfall (total last 7 days) mm 55.6
Soil Temp (7-day average) @10am °C 20

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)

Last update was last 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

  • Advertising and interviews continue for another permanent employee to lift our team to 5 permanent farm staff for the rest of this season and into the next. https://www.southerndairyhub.co.nz/jobs/
  • Another FarmTune session completed – now we are into planning and for setting up workspaces, cowshed and workshop. Will keep you posted.

Early changes as a result from our time with Lynsey doing FarmTune. Animal health cupboard easy access, correct height, with products set out and with listed treatments for each cow in the treatment mob, along with a re-order sheet

Check out –  https://www.dairynz.co.nz/farm/farmtune