2017/18 Season HUB Weekly Farm Update as at 6th March 2018

Concrete grooving close to the entry to the shed to help alleviate a slippery yard; thanks to Doug from ‘Cow Yard Grooving’

Week ending 6th March 2018

Table 1: Key Numbers week ending 6th March 2018

Av. Pasture Cover 2900 kg DM/ha
Round Length 40-42 days
Pasture Growth rate 74 kg DM/day
Soil temp 15 C
No. of cows on farm 651 cows
Av. Supplement used (milkers) 0 kg DM/cow/day
Av. Kg MS/cow/day 1.6 kg MS/cow/day
Av. Kg MS/ha 4.16 kg MS/ha
Milking frequency 3in2

Week summary:

  • APC lifted to 2900 kgDM/ha (although pasture growth was lower this week)
  • Round length extended to 40 – 42 days
  • Baleage contractor contracted
  • Herd pregnancy test results: 7 – 11% empty, 64% calve in 3 weeks, 83% in 6 weeks (refer to stock section notes)
  • Winter feed budget in progress, factoring in potential late lactation fodder beet grazing

Critical Targets this week

  • Herd test
  • BCS check

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 2: 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) (28/02/18)
Total Milksolids (YTD) kgMS 202,571
Total Milksolids (MTD) kgMS 3,754
Total Milksolids (last 7 days) kgMS 6,769
Average per cow daily production (last 7 days) kgMS/cow/day 1.6
Per ha production (last 7 days) kgMS/ha 4.16
Other (to the factory)
Protein:Fat Ratio (7-day avg.) % 0.83
Milk Urea (7-day avg.) mg/dl 26.63
SCC (7-day avg.) cells/ml 132,000
Fat Evaluation Index (FEI) A
Fonterra 17/18 Forecast - as at 7th Dec 17 $/kgMS $6.40

Milking frequency

  • Farm team to discuss continuing with milking 3in2 for the rest of the season vs. returning to twice a day
  • Target of 1.6 kgMS/cow/day before considering twice a day option

Other considerations are –

  • Will the move to extend the round drop per cow production?
  • Range in cow BCS
  • Are the farm team happy to continue 3in2 or not?

Lame cows

  • 3 cases in the last 2 weeks
  • No issues

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.

Table 3: Feed Offered

Milkers – Pasture offered kgDM/cow/day 18
Milkers - Fodder Beet kgDM/cow/day 0
Milkers - Pasture Silage kgDM/cow/day 0
Milkers - Concentrates – 3 in 2 Cows (shed) kgDM/cow/day 0
Milkers - Concentrates – 3 in 2 Cows (pdk) kgDM/cow/day 0
Milkers - Concentrates - OAD Cows kgDM/cow/day 0


  • APC lift over the last 3 weeks; harder to hit the residual target of 1600 kg DM/ha for the autumn
  • Round extended mid-month from 30-day to a 42-day without the addition of any supplement. The 42-day round will help refocus the residual APC target of 1600 kgDM/ha
  • If paddocks exceed APC of 3300 kg DM/ha, they will be harvested as baleage. The intention is to keep an even approach towards the 4 different farmlets.

Crop feeding

If the winter feed budget allows, fodder beet may be considered as a supplement for 2 of the herds late season, in preparation for wintering on fodder beet.

This will allow the farm team to:

  • Offer a supplement feed with pasture to take pressure off the APC late in the season
  • Introduce the cows to beet through early winter transition
  • Open up the fodder beet paddock face ready for winter and ease of grazing
  • Avoid the use of pasture paddocks when transitioning onto fodder beet early winter (and the pugging damage associated)


  • R1 heifers behind a wire rotating around the platform; no supplements offered
  • R2 heifers have returned to the platform after developing ryegrass staggers grazing on the support block; R2’s not in calf have been sold off farm

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 4: Land, Pasture, Crop & Silage Metrics

Pre - Graze cover target kgDM/ha 3300
Post - Graze cover target kgDM/ha 1600
Average Pasture Cover (avg. over 4 farmlets) kgDM/ha 2900
Growth Rate (avg. over 4 farmlets) kgDM/ha/day 74
Rotation Length (avg. over 4 farmlets) days 42
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

Crop management

  • Fungicide spray (recommended by our agronomy support PGGWrightsons) applied to 12ha of beet, mixed with a thistle spray to control thistles present in the beet.
  • A second fungicide spray due on same area at the end of month.
  • Spray has a 42 day with holding period so half of the beet area was sprayed to allow for potential late lactation grazing (should feed budget and yields allow).
  • No spray drift onto surrounding pasture paddock. Our research tech team had to allow 24 hours post spray before entering to avoid contact with residues.

Hub Kale yield assessment done end of February at 7.8t/DM/ha

No N applied this week – planning a light dressing on the support block this week.

Table 5: Nitrogen use on Farm

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 6
Soil Temp (7-day average) @10am °C 15

Reproductive Performance

  • The herd had an empty rate of 7 – 11%. This is either 7% of cows scanned or 11% of cows mated. The 11% is from that start of mating inclusive of cows culled due to the Staph outbreak and the dry period.

Table 6: Reproduction Metrics

Planned start of Mating (PSM) Target Actual Unit
Mixed Aged Cows 29-Oct-17 Date
2016 Born Heifers 21-Oct-17 Date
Calving spread
3 weeks 64 %
6 weeks 83 %
9 weeks 97 %
3 week Submission Rate 90 91 %
6 week in-calf rate 78 79 %
Empty Rate 10 7-11 %

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