2020/21 Season HUB Weekly Farm Update as at 10th December 2020

Table 1: Farmlet feed wedges and general information

*If you are struggling to view the tables and wedges you can download the pdf here

NOTES: Hatched bars are paddocks that have been stepped over for conservation

Table 1: Key Herd Numbers 10/12/2020 – percentage of the herd in each mob

DATE: 10th Dec 2020 Std Kale LI Kale Std FB LI FB Total
Current Herd Numbers 196 162 193 162 713
Milking TAD into vat 165 141 162 142 605
Milking OAD into vat 26 16 23 17 87
Sick/penos 5 5 8 3 21

Table 2: Key Weather and Feeding Numbers 2/12/2020

Soil temp (C) 17.0
Rainfall (mm) 0
Allocations Kg DM/cow/day Std Kale LI Kale Std FB LI FB
Milkers 15 kg pasture + 3.5 kg inshed 17.5 kg DM pasture + 1 kg inshed 17.5 kg DM pasture + 1 kg baleage 18.5 kg DM pasture + baleage if required

Key Decisions: this week

  • In-shed feeding has been increased to 3.5 kg DM/cow/day to the Std Kale herd as the wedge is still indicating a short term feed deficit in the next week and on average 1.8 kg DM/cow/day baleage was fed out last week. Std kale have consumed all their farm made baleage so any baleage fed from now will be purchased.
  • Bring Std Kale and LI Kale baleage paddocks back into the rotation. Pre-graze mow in sections to maximise quality and ensure a good residual
  • Continue inshed feeding to LI kale herd at 1 kg DM/cow/day; reassess on Monday and increase if more than 1 bale baleage/day required as a top up
  • Return pdk 59 to the grazing plan for the LI FB herd to stretch rotation slightly
  • 1-2 kg DM baleage/cow required for Std FB herd, baleage as required to LI FB until Monday then likely 1 bale/day
  • N protect will continue at 25 kg N/ha onto the Std farmlets and the 2nd round application to the LI farmlets with continue at 15 kg N/ha as N protect.
  • Now that bulls are in the herds tail paint will be assessed on Mon mornings each week to record bull matings to improve the accuracy of pregnancy dating.
  • Continue with weekly monitoring of crop paddocks for pests and spray as required
  • Spray new grass paddocks for weeds
  • Weaned calves to receive PKE in trailers (approx. 1 kg/calf/day) to help reduce coccidiosis burdon by grazing higher in the sward. Also being drenched with Turbo®, an oral drench which helps protect against coccidosis.

General Notes:

  • All maintenance and capital P fertiliser has now been applied and we are starting maintenance potassium applications
  • Contractors will be onsite next week putting in the pipework to expand the effluent area on the upper terrace. This has been required due to ongoing issues with the old pipework on the lower terrace resulting in us not being able to utilise this area.
  • All crops on the milking platform have been planted and with the exception of one paddock the plants have germinated (Figure 1)

Figure 1: if you look hard you can see some plants 😊


  • Milk production is still jumping around a bit (Figure 2) but we are getting through the worst of the paddocks with regards seedhead so we are hoping to see things settle in the next week.

Figure 2: Milk production kg MS/cow/week for each farmlet


  • Baleage has been required to all herds again this week, and again it has been the kale herds that have required additional feed, hence the decision to pull their ‘baleage’ paddocks back into the rotation to give the paddocks a couple more days regrowth before grazing.
  • We are seeing better quality pastures ahead of the cows with less seedhead evident, however in some of the paddocks on the lower terrace there is still a lot of sweet vernal and crested dogstail seedhead emerging. Between 50 and 70% of all farmlets have either been topped or conserved for baleage this season so far.

Table 3: Grazing area available and proportion of each farm topped or conserved this season

Grazing area available Topped Conserved
Pink 56.5 28% 22%
Blue 57.7 24% 29%
Green 57.8 56% 15%
Yellow 60.9 30% 29%
  • Last day of AI was on the 9th December. At that stage there were x1 Std kale, x2 LI Kale, x6 Std FB and x1 LI FB cows that had not been submitted. However, 7 of these were expected to come on as had been given a PG injection or CIDR’ed earlier in the week.

Animal Health

  • We are continuing to get 2-3 cases of lameness per herd per week with all being white line issues.
  • No mastitis cases this week after stripping all high SCC cows from the herd test last week.
  • X3 cows were culled this week, one each from the LI Kale, LI FB and Std FB herds.

People Management and Visitors

  • Rural Delivery were onsite on Monday filming an update on activities on the Hub and reflections 3 years on from when the initial episode was made. You can check out the first episode at Home | Rural Delivery

Research on-farm

  • GPS collars have been put on 2 cows in each herd as a pilot to determine if all grazing events could be tracked remotely removing the requirement for our manual grazing sheet
  • We are investigating an opportunity to insert Smaxtec boli into a selection of cows in each herd. These boli measure rumen temperature and rumination and provide a heat stress indicator, detection of feverish conditions and also detection of metabolic disease. The boli allow monitoring of aspects of animal welfare in real time which will be beneficial when transitioning animals onto crop in late lactation (fodder beet) or winter.
  • We recently updated our Research Tree – a pictorial representation of all the research projects that have been undertaken or are currently happening at SDH.

Figure 3: Current and historical research and demonstration projects at SDH

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 louise.cook@southerndairyhub.co.nz

For more information check out the DairyNZ link: