2021/22 Season HUB Weekly Farm Update as at 10th June 2021

We have changed to fortnightly farm walks through winter so there is no farm walk data this week, so this is a short update.

Table 1: Key Herd Numbers 10/06/2021 – number of cows in each mob

DATE: 10 June 2021 Std Kale LI Kale Std FB LI FB Total
Current being milked 0 0 0 0
Dries 202 168 202 168 740
Slips 1 1

Table 2: Key Weather and Feeding Numbers 10/6/2021

Soil temp (C) 7.4
Rainfall (mm) 4
Allocations Kg DM/cow/day Std Kale LI Kale Std FB LI FB
Milkers Kale 10.8-11.8 kg DM/cow

Baleage 4.4–3.3 kg DM/cow
Kale 11.8 kg DM/cow

Baleage 3.3 kg DM/cow
Beet 9-10 kg DM/cow

Baleage 4.2–3.3 kg DM/cow
Beet 9.8 kg DM/cow

Baleage 3.3 kg DM/cow

Key Decisions: this week

  • This week the team are going to measure the distance to the feeding face in each crop paddock so we can check our feed budget and slow the cows down through the kale paddocks by adding in more baleage if needed. They will also be checking the feed face width in some of the paddocks so that we can re-calculate our allocations using our latest crop yield estimates.
  • We have made a plan for some of our fodder beet cows who have been in the lame mob to ensure they are fully transitioned onto the same allocation as the main herd before they re-join their winter mobs. Over the next week we will slowly increase their crop allocation. This will mean leaving them in the lame mob until Wednesday next week but will ensure they will not be put at risk of rumen acidosis.
  • We also have a couple of fodder beet cows who have been in our treatment mob and off fodder beet while receiving treatment. They will start transitioning back onto fodder beet in a separate mob so that they can return to the main herds on crop once fully recovered.
  • There are x4 cows – x1 Std Kale, x2 Std FB and x1 LI FB that we have decided to keep off crop for the winter. They will be kept in a separate area and offered ad libitum baleage and 3 kg PKE/day.
  • A couple of weeks ago we moved cows from fodder beet paddock 15 as soil conditions were too wet. Cows will return to this paddock over the next couple of days with the intention to graze the drier areas the paddock first. As the furthest fodder beet paddock from the dairy we don’t want to be drafting cows off crop from here. They will most likely start at the back of the paddock rather than the middle as it will be difficult to open up the middle without over allocating crop given there will be two feed faces on the first day and it is a 26 T DM’ha crop. Any beet in wet areas that cannot be grazed will be lifted in spring for feeding milkers.
  • The farm team are keen to split the daily allocation of fodder beet into two feeds to provide them with access to feed over a longer period of the day. We will continue with daily break allocations in pdk 102, our crop method establishment paddock. There will be some logistics to work through to make sure the bales aren’t in the way of the first fence. The team will continue to measure out the daily break and will then just split this into two. This will ensure accuracy with daily allocation and decrease the chance of cumulative errors in break sizes.
  • The R1’s on fodder beet have been increased to their full allocation after holding them at the same allocation for a few days on advice from the veterinarian after a case of clinical acidosis.

General Notes:

  • Both fodder beet and kale cows are now fully transitioned onto crop.
  • A bit of an update with some issues we have had on farm this week. We have had a couple of break outs in our kale crops due to a power supply issue. In both paddocks the next days break was also broken through. The team are heading out to check that there is power to all sections and along the length of the break fence to ensure it doesn’t happen again. This could be a good reminder to check yours as well.
  • Yesterday we started grazing the kale and fodderbeet paddocks in the Hedgehope-Makarewa Catchment group crop establishment citizen science project. Soil measurements started today and we will be photographing the breaks each day.

Figure 1: Cows grazing paddock 102 which is part of our citizen science project.


  • Our SDH Winter Field Day will be held on farm on the 7th July, 12pm-2.30pm (lunch and registration at 12pm and commencing at 12.30pm). So pencil this day into your calendar and we will have more details to come!

Animal Health

  • Most of our lame cows are recovering well but a couple more were pulled off crop this week.
  • The fodder beet cow treated with clinical acidosis will not be returned to crop this winter.
  • There are x3 lame cows who will also stay off crop to ensure they are fully recovered before calving.
  • X1 Std Kale cow slipped this week however from the state of the foetus this pregnancy was lost several months ago.

People Management and Visitors

Research on-farm

  • Our citizen science project with Hedgehope-Makarewa Catchment group has kicked off with the cows now grazing the two paddocks at SDH. Daily paddock measurements are starting today (11th June) and will continue until the paddocks are finished. These include gumboot scoring, water pooling, and pugging depth.

Figure 2: Photos the tech team have taken while out doing their daily paddock measurements.

Early indications are that the Std farmlets grew approximately 2 T DM/ha more this season than the LI farmlets however there is a bit more data checking required to confirm annual growth.

Figure 3: Average monthly pasture growth rate for each farmlet for this season


  • Results from SDH research have been presented in three forums this week:
    • SFF Sustainable Use of Fodder beet project team workshop
    • Winter grazing action group (WGAG) meeting. The WGAG also visited SDH this morning
    • ACE Future Farming Expo.

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: