2021/22 Season HUB Weekly Farm Update as at 12th August 2021

Table 1: Farmlet feed wedges and general information

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

NOTE: Hatched paddocks are springer paddocks

Table 1: Key Herd Numbers 10/08/2021 – number of cows in each mob

DATE: 10 August 2021 Std Kale LI Kale Std FB LI FB Total
Cows on Farm 202 167 199 167 735
Current being milked 46 32 50 42 170
Springers 71 73 66 69 279
Dries 85 62 82 56 285
Slips/empty/deaths 2 1 3 1 7

Table 2: Key Weather and Feeding Numbers 12/08/2021

Soil temp (C) 7.3
Rainfall (mm) 29 mm
Allocations Kg DM/cow/day Std Kale LI Kale Std FB LI FB
Colostrum 15-16 kg pasture
Springers 3-5 kg pasture & 5-7 kg baleage
Dry cows Kale 11.8 kg DM/cow

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

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

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

Baleage 3.3 kg DM/cow

Key Decisions: this week

  • With wet conditions on farm we have had to offer baleage as required to our milkers as pasture utilisation will be low. Offering baleage helps bridge the gap and keeps the cows happy without having to increase the area offered per day.
  • So far we have had 171 cows calved and 25 replacement calves in the shed.
  • Due to reaching our 100 milkers capacity we will be drafting the milker mob on Monday into FB and kale mobs; once these mobs reach 100 they will be drafted again into standard and LI. The milkers receive 100m2/cow and due to the small size of the mobs we have been splitting our paddocks in half down the centre and grazing one side at a time.
  • Paddock conditions have been better in the crop paddocks than the pasture, though the small mobs on crop have been harder to manage allocations. Last week we consolidated the kale and FB mobs into two mobs per crop type (early calvers, and late calvers). This has made management easier. Next week we will consolidate further to have only x1 kale and x1 fodder beet dry mob.

General Notes:

  • It has been a tough week on farm; incremental increases in cows calving, wet paddock conditions, and being a team member down has really put pressure on the team.
  • Unfortunately, due to the extra rain the paddocks have some surface water and the milkers have made damage through pugging. In the figure below the cows entered this paddock with good cover and were quite happy, but it didn’t take long for the wet weather to cause pugging and surface water.

Figure 1: Milkers pugging paddock due to wet weather

 

  • This week our pasture growth dropped slightly to 13-16kg DM/ha, this will be due to less sunshine hours and colder conditions with hail and sleet passing through and wet conditions during the farmwalk. Our covers continue to track above the predicted line with the LI farmlets still showing a positive incline compared to the Std farmlets beginning to drop. The grazed area so far has been larger for the standards at 5.2ha (Std. FB) and 6.6ha (Std. Kale) compared to the LI 2.9ha for LI kale and FB. This will even up over time as springer paddocks from all farmlets are grazed.

Figure 2: Actual vs. predicted average pasture cover for each farmlet

 

  • Half of our Allflex collar hardware has been installed and we are just waiting for one more antenna to be installed further down the farm. We can receive data from the cows as they come to the shed and are looking forward to seeing what this tells us and what management decisions we can make off the information.
  • Tomorrow the R2s will be weighed which will give us an indication of their weight before the kale animals head off to the graziers at the beginning of next week as they have finished their crop. Fodderbeet R2’s will stay on crop until the end of August.
  • Andrea is doing a great job rearing calves and weighing all the newborns that arrive. The calves have been of a reasonable size and all receive gold colostrum. We sent our first lot of bobby calves away last week.
  • After feedback from our Facebook followers we would like to reassure everyone that our calving kits and smoko room are heavily stocked with snacks and treats for the staff. With all their hard work we also had a KFC catered lunch yesterday which went down a treat.
  • We had a brainstorming session with DairyNZ and AgResearch Comms and marketing this week to help better promote the awesome things we are doing at SDH. As you can see from this picture a lot flip chart paper was used and this photo was taken only halfway through the meeting! We are excited with the new ideas and strategy on how we can better communicate what is happening at SDH with you all.

Figure 3: Dawn writing up the notes from the comms and marketing meeting this week

 

  • A repost from last week for those that missed it: Our milkers and dry cows were body condition scored. Overall, we are happy with the results but will have to manage the lighter and fatter tail enders, with 10% kale and 15% FB cows at BCS 6 or above. The graph below shows the spread of BCS in the dry cows still on crop across each farmlet; on average the dries average BCS 5.3-5.4 and the milkers BCS 4.7-4.9.

Figure 4: Dry cow BCS distribution across farmlet types

Animal Health

  • Overall animal health has been good given the weather conditions. There have been a few cows treated for lameness and a few calving related issues. This morning we had two down cows, both animals were in springer mobs and were a FB cow and a heifer. We’ve also had some retained membranes and mastitis cases.
  • Mineral supplementation is key this time of year and our staff continue to be proactive with its daily use. Springers and colostrums are currently getting 50 g DCP and 50 g MgO dusted onto pasture daily. MgCl is also going through the water system.

SDH Research/Demonstration

  • Our science technicians have now moved to doing weekly sampling of SDH and the Hanning’s lysimeters as part of the Plant and Food catch crop study.
  • Crop yielding has concluded for the year and it has been nice for the farm team to be able to finally get on top of things especially now that we are back into weekly pasture walks and fortnightly BCS and herd testing.

Communication

People

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:

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