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

Table 1: Key Herd Numbers 09/09/2020 – percentage of the herd in each mob

DATE: 9th Sept 2020  Std Kale LI Kale Std FB LI FB
Calved milking 73% 72% 73% 73%
Calved colostrum 6% 4% 6% 7%
Springers 11% 10% 11% 7%
Dries on crop 0 0 11% 14%
Dries on grass 10% 14% 0 0

Table 2: Key Weather and Feeding Numbers 09/09/2020

Soil temp (C) 7.2
Rainfall (mm) 8.8
Allocations Kg DM/cow/day Std Kale LI Kale Std FB LI FB
Dry cows on crop 9.5 crop + 3 baleage
DCP 50 g/cow/d
Springers 8 pasture + 2.5 baleage
MgO 50 g/cow/d
8 pasture + 2.5 baleage
MgO 50 g/cow/d + DCP 100 g/cow/d
Colostrums 15 pasture
MgO 50 g/cow/d,
DCP 100 g/cow/d,
Limeflour 300 g/cow/d
15 pasture
MgO 50 g/cow/d,
DCP 150 g/cow/d,
Limeflour 300 g/cow/d
Milkers 17-18kg DM pasture 17-18kg DM pasture

Key Decisions: this week

  • Soil temperatures continue to rise and we had an average of 7.2 degrees for the week. While this well with our N fertiliser decision rule of 7 degrees and rising, we are not comfortable this has been happening consistently for 10 days. With approaching cold, wet weather over the next week we have decided to hold off applying our first round of N. We are not in dire need for extra pasture with good APC in all farmlets and all our spring supplement still on hand so can comfortably make the decision to delay nitrogen. We will however prepare the order to be put through, most likely towards the end of next week.
  • From our SRP our APC are trending in the right direction and not continuing to rise like previous weeks so it is getting easier to manage residuals and pasture quality next round. Last we sped up the round to the Std milking mobs offering 1.45 ha/day (x4, 12 hour grazings/pdk) and the LI milking mobs 1.2 ha/day (x5, 12 hour grazings/pdk), the difference being driven by mob size. However, the Std. farmlet cows struggled to hit residuals and left/avoided clumps in the pdk. We will use the dry cows in the Std kale to clean up residuals and return the Std FB cows for a clean-up grazing (4.5 feeds/pdk) to try and hit a better residual to ensure good second round grass.
  • Last week the area allocated to the springers was increased from 20 to 30m2 plus baleage as we still have 1.5 springer paddocks for each of the kale and fodder beet springers to graze through. Having been set up as springer paddocks the quality is not suitable for milking cows. We have noticed that less baleage has been left behind and wasted. We were concerned that the increased pasture in the diet might result in more metabolic issues but good springer mineral management has meant this has not been an issue.
  • The Std. farmlets have now used more area than their predicted SRP area however they are still above their target APC; the LI farmlets are still behind their allocated amount. Running a higher APC will be of use this week if we have to speed up our round or have lower utilisation due to wet paddocks from the predicted rain.

Figure 1: SRP APC graphs for each farmlet


  • After the springer draft for the FB mobs earlier in the week and the dry lates were combined into one FB mob still on crop. The kale cows continue to clean up behind the kale milkers and if hitting residuals continues to be an issue, the mower maybe required to follow behind the FB milkers.
  • To ensure consistent intake of minerals if the predicted wet weather does eventuate next week we will apply the minerals to the baleage in the springers and dust directly in front of the cows for the colostrum and milker mobs.
  • Although we are still finishing up with winter 2020 we are continuing to discuss our options  for next year’s crop paddocks in light of the Essential Fresh Water requirements for winter 2021. Considerations will be whether the paddocks we choose to crop can be successfully grazed over winter while adhering to <50% of the paddock with pugging less than 5cm depth and no pugging greater than 20 cm except around fixed structures i.e. water troughs and gateways. You can read more about the EFW regulations here: https://www.dairynz.co.nz/environment/environment-policy-and-leadership/national-freshwater-regulations/

General Notes:

  • This week we had the contractor out ploughing crop to grass pdks. We also had the drainage contractor out to check tile drainage in a couple of crop paddocks before they are regrassed.

Figure 2: Ploughing crop to grass pdks and digging to check a few drains


  • The older calves were weighed this week and recorded an average weight gain of 14.4 kg over 25 days growing at 580grams/day from 31kg at birth to 45.5kg to date.
  • This week the milkers were BCS with the Std. Kale having the highest % under BCS 4.5. Below are the results from the BCS camera for all milkers and it is interesting to see the drop the LI kale cows have taken over the last few weeks compared with the Std. FB which started at similar level but have either held their condition better or the new cows entering the milkers are in better BCS. We have actioned our strategy from last week to a few at risk cows which included preferential feeding and OAD.

Figure 3: BCS camera results milkers


  • This week it was the Std. FB that were the first farmlet to crack 2kg MS/cow. The lines continue to increase and hopefully next week all farmlets will be over the 2kg MS/cow mark.

Figure 4: Herd daily milk solids production

Animal Health

  • Unfortunately, we have identified rotavirus and crypto in our calf sheds. Rotavirus is something we have struggled with year on year. This year we made the decision to Rotavac the cows to generate better quality colostrum and provide better immunity for the calves to deal with these challenges. At the moment the rotavirus is in some calves 3 weeks and older.
  • We continue to have issues with lameness and are once again using our matting with copper sulphate at the entry and exit point of the shed.
  • We had two cow deaths this week; one from a twisted gut and another due to cellulitis
  • We had a great photo come through from our cow with an injured leg. We decided she wouldn’t recover enough to be full time in the milking herd so was sold to be a nurse cow. You can see in the photo that she is really enjoying her new life as full-time mum.

Figure 5: Our cow off to be a nurse cow

People Management and Visitors

  • Under Covid Level 2 restrictions visitors to the farm are being minimised to only those required for the farm activities and for research purposes.
  • We are looking forward to the DNZ regional team hosting their full team meeting at SDH on Monday

Research on-farm

  • Current research on farm is focusing on the implementation of the farm systems and getting these herds set up for the season.
  • Analysis of the data collected during the winter behaviour monitoring trial is on-going
  • All the Forage Value Index paddocks are having a sample taken for quality before their first grazing and 25 tillers in each paddock will be assessed for leaf stage as well.

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: