2018/19 Season HUB Weekly Farm Update as at 11th October 2018

General Farm Information

Table 1: Key Numbers 11th October

Milking Platform average
Soil temp (C) 8.7
Rainfall (mm) 20.4
Av. Pasture Cover (kg DM/ha) 2397
Pasture Growth rate (kg DM/ha/day) 68
No. of cows milking 697
No. cows milking into the vat 632
Av. Kg MS/cow/day (from vat) 2.0
Average milk fat (%) 4.71
Average milk prot (%) 3.84
Average SCC (cells/ml) 176,000
Milker Intake Target (kg DM/cow) 18 - 18.5 kg DM total
Colostrum Intake Target (kg DM/cow) 14.5 kg DM pasture
Springer Intake Target (kg DM/cow) 10 kg total (pasture

Table 2: Animal Summary by farmlet

Std Kale LI Kale Std FB LI FB Units
Pink Blue Green Yellow
Animal Summary
Milkers – TAD 164 149 160 139 cows
Colostrum/sick 9 8 7 8 cows
Staph 4 12 9 8
Springers 17 cows

Table 3: Feed Summary by farmlet

Std Kale LI Kale Std FB LI FB Units
Pink Blue Green Yellow
Pasture Summary
Average pasture cover* (C-Dax and excluding springer paddocks) 2371 2436 2384 2395 kg DM
Growth Rate (c-dax) 70 73 66 62 kgDM/d
Rotation length last week 30 30 29 28
Target rotation length* (Excluding springer paddocks) 30 30 30 30 days
Target milker intake for this week 28th September - 5th October
Pasture 14.5 14.5 15 15 kg DM/cow
PKE:Barley Blend 2.5 2.5 kg DM/cow
Fodder beet 3 3 kg DM/cow
Baleage kg DM/cow
Total DMI 18 18 18 18 kg DM/cow

Key Decisions: this week

  • The weaning target for the calves ranges from 80-90kg liveweight (buffer of -5kg), depending on their breed composition. This week x36 calves will be weaned onto grass and ad lib meal. Once they have spent a week adjusting to weaning, the meal offered will be reduced over the following week. As soon as practical, weaned calves will be sent to the support block.
  • Next week the heifers will undergo the first stages of mating. Heifers will receive their first jab of PG on the18th October, followed by a 2nd jab on the 1st November. AI Mating will then occur the next day (2nd November) and last for 5 days. On day 6, small framed Hereford bulls will be run with the herd until the end of the 8 week mating period.
  • Residuals have risen in some paddocks this week. However, due to the amount of stem in the base of the pasture, it has been decided that cow performance would be jeopardised if pushed to graze lower to target residuals. High residual paddocks have been noted and will be assessed at next grazing as to whether they will be taken for supplement (if in surplus) or topped post grazing to reset the residual and re-establish quality.
  • Last week in-shed feeding was reintroduced to the LI Kale herd mid-week due to poor weather conditions and lower than expected residuals.
  • This week decisions around the use of supplements (in shed feeding) will be decided by monitoring residuals. Kale cows will be introduced to their first break of the paddock without supplements; when removed for milking the residual will be assess and the decision made whether to include supplement with the next break.

For a full set of this weeks Field day notes visit www.southerndairyhub.co.nz

  • A 30-day rotation equates to 1.5 days per paddock – to achieve consistent residuals across the paddock 50% of the paddock is offered for the first grazing, 30% for the second grazing, and 20% for the third and final grazing.
  • If cows are close to residual in the first break it indicates that supplement will be required for the next 2 grazings. 

General Notes:

  • The end of calving is in sight with only x17 cows left to calve.
  • From soil tests on farm it is apparent that Olsen P is a limiting nutrient to pasture growth in some paddocks. It has been recommended to apply P as Super phosphate behind the cows (same as urea applications). Capital dressings will be split to reduce any chance of losses or damage to pasture. It has also been recommended to add potassium (K) in the form of Potassium Chloride granules to the plan. K will need to be applied at 75kg/ha to all paddocks not receiving effluent and that are not going into the crop rotation.


  • Olsen P level of paddock

    Super Phosphate kg/ha

    <15 Capital


    15-20 Capital


    20-25 Capital




    Potassium maintenance kg/ha


  • Herd test results this week showed a range between 1.9-2.1kg MS/cow. The Std FB, LI FB and LI kale all held per cow milk solid production compared to the last herd test results, however MS yield dropped in the Std kale herd. 
  • When soil moisture and paddock conditions have allowed, effluent application has been underway for last couple of weeks.
  • On the farm wedge, the LI kale shows x3 paddocks at the top end of the wedge that are quite high. These are either part grazed or mostly grazed with smaller mobs such as colostrums and staph cows.
  • Grain feeding to the LI kale recommenced this week due to the poor weather conditions and some of the paddocks on the top end being also grazed by staph and colostrum cows.
  • New yards at the support block will be ready for use in the next day.
  • For the last 2 days the four outside mobs of calves have been on OAD milk feeding and are being rotated around paddocks every 2-3 days.
  • Preliminary results from calf and R1 measurements are available in the Field day Handout

NB: dotted line is target for 18 kg diet of pasture only.

Animal Health

  • Cows were BCS this week with x55 <BCS 4.0 being put or remaining on OAD (x14 std FB, x12 LI FB, x23 std kale and x6 LI kale). All herds except the Std Kale (4.4), averaged BCS of 4.5.
  • There was one cow death in the Std Kale farm this week. Autopsy results revealed this was due to a twisted gut. She had previously been treated for metritis.

People Management

  • This week we have the full team back on board and also welcome Charlie McGregor as 2IC. Charlie has an experienced background in dairying in Southland and comes to us from a dry stock position in Western Southland.

Research on-farm

  • This week we had the SDH field day. Although the weather was not perfect, we had a great turnout and discussion around the quarterly financial results, on farm management practises, and preliminary results from trials that have been underway. Dr Ross Monaghan from AgResearch talked us through the measurement of N leaching losses from autumn- and winter-grazed crops, the variable width waterway protection, and also stream monitoring. Dr Dawn Dalley from DairyNZ gave us an update on the farm systems implementation, winter results from the R1’s and the cows managed on the standard and low impact kale vs. fodder beet farmlets, and the 2018 calf management results. You can view the preliminary results and financials in the SDH field day handout found at www.southerndairyhub.co.nz

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: