2018/19 Season HUB Weekly Farm Update as at 10th August 2018

General Farm Information

Table 1: Key Numbers 10th August

Milking Platform average
Soil temp (C) 5.2
Rainfall (mls) 7
Av. Pasture Cover (kg DM/ha) 2318
Pasture Growth rate (kg DM/ha/day) 16
No. of cows milking 195
Av. Kg MS/cow/day N/A
Milker Intake Target (kg DM/cow) 14 kg DM pasture
Colostrum Intake Target (kg DM/cow) 13-14 kg DM pasture
Springer Intake Target (kg DM/cow) 10 kg total (baleage, hay & pasture

Table 2: Animal Summary by farmlet

Std Kale LI Kale Std FB LI FB Units
Pink Blue Green Yellow
Animal Summary
Milkers – TAD 27 15 35 32 cows
Colostrum 17 24 30 15 cows
Springers 42 33 29 19 cows
Sick mob cows
Dries on crop 117 108 127 114 cows
Predicted median calving date 18 Aug 19 Aug 17 Aug 18 Aug
% calved 21 22 31 27 calves
% of heifer replacements selected 31 37 41 53 calves

Table 3: Feed Summary by farmlet

Std Kale LI Kale Std FB LI FB Units
Pink Blue Green Yellow
Paste Summary
Average pasture cover 2284 2301 2387 2301 kg DM
Growth Rate 16 15 19 14 kgDM/d
Area grazed (season to date) 9.3 4.2 2.9 2.9 ha
Cows on Crop
Kale (kg DM/cow) 7.9 7.3
Fodder beet (kg DM/cow) 9.5 9.3
Baleage (kg DM/cow) 6.1 6.7 4.5 4.6

NB: The target lines on these wedges are incorrect. Current area allocation is being determined from the spring rotation planner

Key Decisions this week

  • Develop an action plan to address mastitis concerns
  • Balance up the paddock grazings’ across the farmlets – utilise fodder beet farmlet paddocks this week
  • Split the milkers into kale and fodder beet farmlets, continue to increase DM allocation as per feed budget
  • Revise feed budgets and reassess supplement requirements for milkers once the pasture drive is completed on Friday
  • Fine tune recording systems to ensure all the data needed for research is captured

General Notes:

  • Calving has been steady over the last week – next week looks like it is going to be a busy one based on the predicted calving dates
  • Running one colostrum and 1 milking mob
  • Currently the fodder beet herds are calving at a faster rate than the kale herds despite similar predicted average and median calving dates
  • Springers continue to be drafted out onto pasture and baleage twice a week
  • Calved cows are currently on a 100% pasture diet. The feed budget predicts 2 kg DM/cow supplement will be required from next week
  • Fodder beet cows will be kept on crop for as long as possible
  • The kale feed budget predicts this will be finished by mid next week, so these mobs will be moved onto a predominantly baleage diet until they join the springers
  • The first milk collection was on 8th August. Average SCC was  87,000

Animal Health

  • We have a few animals coming through with high RMT scores at the end of the colostrum period and we have had 3 cases of mastitis
  • 1 animal has come back positive for staph aureus, so we are developing a monitoring protocol to quantify the level of infection in the herd and stop the spread to new animals
  • Liver biopsy results from last week gave mixed results: 2 animals had marginal Cu stores and 2 optimal. Levels will be checked again pre-mating
  • All animals received injectable Selenium last week based on results of blood tests done in mid-July

People Management

  • Our new employee due to start now has had to remain in the North Island so we are advertising for another permanent to start now. We will have to look at our structure and hours with this in mind and make some changes to how we work. The farm team are very busy and will be for the next 2 weeks at least.

Research on-farm

  • We are developing a one-page summary for the weekly reporting of the farmlet results (watch this space!!)
  • The tech team are busy with calf measurements and keeping all the data up to date
  • To identify any cumulative effects of crop type on replacement growth rate and stature we are completing the following measurements
    • Day 1 – blood sample for minerals and IGG, weight, height, girth and length
    • Day 3 – blood sample for IGG
    • Fortnightly – weight, height, girth and length
  • The R1 mobs will be bleed, weighed and measured next week to calculate winter growth rates and look at blood mineral levels relative to samples collected pre-winter.
  • Crop yields and quality measurements are continuing
  • The first herd test for the season is scheduled for Mon/Tues next week

General Farm Systems information

The project farm systems comparison has been designed to better understand crop-based wintering in relation to consequences for environmental impact and profit

  • The four herds are split evenly on age, BW / PW, calving date and breed 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).

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:

https://www.dairynz.co.nz/about-us/research/research-farms/southern-dairy-hub/