2020/21 Season HUB Weekly Farm Update as at 11th March 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

Table 1: Key Herd Numbers 11/3/2021 – percentage of the herd in each mob

DATE: 11th Mar 2021 Std Kale LI Kale Std FB LI FB Total
Current being milked 192 154 184 149 679
Milking TAD into vat 165 110 133 122 530
Milking OAD + priority feed 26 42 49 23 219
Sick/penos 1 2 2 4 9

Table 2: Key Weather and Feeding Numbers 11/3/2021

Soil temp (C) 16.1
Rainfall (mm) 14
Allocations Kg DM/cow/day Std Kale LI Kale Std FB LI FB
Milkers 16.5 kg DM pasture
1.5 kg DM/cow/d inshed feeding
15.5 kg DM pasture
2.0 kg DM/cow/d
Baleage as required
16.5 kg DM pasture
Priority PKE for light cows = 0.5 kg/cow equiv.
2kg DM/cow/d baleage
16 kg DM pasture
Priority PKE light cows = 0.6 kg/cow equiv.
1.5 kg DM/cow/d baleage

Key Decisions: this week

  • We had some lovely rain this week to help freshen up pastures and increase soil moisture content as soils were starting to get a bit dry. The cows have been leaving good residuals in paddock, though the Std. FB & LI FB have been a bit tight in some. The gap between demand and supply will continue to be filled with inshed feeding to the Kale and baleage to the FB farmlets.
  • Continuing with final round of N fertiliser across all farmlets following behind the cows– Std farmlets at 25 kg N/ha as Ammo31; LI farmlets at 15 kg N/ha as a special ammo brew to match sulphate inputs across the systems. Targeting 7 kg sulphate/ha
  • The R1s at the runoff were brought in to be drenched and weighed. The average weight was 163kg, with a range of 119kg to 190kg. The calves at the grazier were weighed 1.5 weeks ago at an average of 164kg so it is great to see that the additional feeding of PKE to the smaller mob at home is helping catch them up to their bigger compatriots that were sent out to grazing.
  • All crops have now received their side dressing of N fertiliser. We have noticed some variation in kale crop height between pdks and wondering if there will be a yield variation when we do crop yields in 2 weeks. Some kale paddocks also have significant white butterfly damage around the edges of the crop and we are consulting with our agronomist about this.
  • We have settled on our winter mob sizes and once complete our first crop yields in 2 weeks we can do a forward prediction for winter feed supply and amount and location of baleage. Once our final load of baleage arrives next week we will do quality and dry matter tests.
  • With increased soil moisture, conditions are starting to improve for soil aeration. We will schedule over the next few weeks which paddocks will be appropriate for aeration, being very conscious of the correct soil conditions before going ahead and not doing all the paddocks at once to avoid a potential pasture deficit as growth will be impacted post aeration.
  • In the next few weeks we will be identifying next year’s winter paddocks so that we can use them for springer paddocks. Once these springer paddocks are identified we will strategically graze them so that they go into winter at the appropriate cover to meet the spring feed budget requirements.
  • Our growth rates continue to track above last season with a clear difference in growth rates between Std. and LI farmlets. Our APC has been tracked against target autumn APC to predict our autumn feed budget. As you can see below we are tracking above our target, though these target values are conservative. Daylight hours, temperatures and growth rates have been dropping so we expect APC to fall however we still have some autumn fertiliser to be applied to boost growth and can remove culls to decrease demand.

Figure 1: APC actual vs. autumn feed budget target

General Notes:

  • We had booked in x40 culls cows for early March but due to space we sent away x25 instead. The first round of culls are the lowest producing empties and discretionary culls from each herd. More culls went from the FB herds to reduce the demand for baleage until the fodder beet is ready for grazing.
  • Milk production has dropped off from the end of last week for majority of the farmlets with a larger gap forming between LI FB farmlet. The Std. Kale has crept up a bit, and the Std. FB are showing the impact of a few tight feds.

Figure 2: Daily milksolids/cow production for the last 2 weeks


  • The difference in season to date production between kale and fodder beet herds continues to widen (Figure 3).

Figure 3: Cumulative MS production per hectare season to date

Animal Health

  • Last week we mentioned that x6 cows (x2 Std Kale, x2 LI Kale, x2 LI FB) were identified as potential Johnes from milk tests and were to be blood tested to confirm status. Results came back with x5 being high positive or positive and one being suspicious. It was recommended to cull the positives, and if short on cull cows, ear tag the suspicious one and not keep her calf or feed her colostrum/milk to calves to minimise spread. Given our low not in calf rate we have decided to cull the one coming back as ‘suspicious’. You can read more about Johnes management here: Johne’s Disease Management – DairyNZ
  • A cow we had health issues with and dried off a few weeks ago was not improving so the decision was made to euthanise and autopsy her. She had a number of secondary infections including pneumonia.

People Management and Visitors

  • We had a great field day this week at SDH talking through our results around N leaching, the wintering behaviour trial, and cropping techniques. We also had some great farmer speakers talking through their wintering practices. Thanks to all that spoke and attended, with over 100 people sharing knowledge! We will have the handout up online in the next few days or contact Louise Cook or Nicole Cochrane to have it emailed.

Figure 4: A great turnout of farmers to the SDH field day

Administrative position available:

We are looking for our next administrative superstar, to join a fast paced and dynamic farming business. This role covers full spectrum of administrative tasks including: Monthly invoice management, payroll, admin support, meetings and minute taking, reporting and planning, recruitment and HR support, engaging with Health and Safety and more!

Located 10 minutes from Invercargill and 15 minutes from Winton, we can offer a degree of flexibility of working hours to support the right candidate.

Reporting directly to the General Manager, training will be provided on the job to ensure the right candidate can interface confidently with all of our systems, and if necessary, there may be an opportunity to split the role over two or more candidates to capture the right skills and time balance.

If you are a professional, enthusiastic, self-starter with good knowledge of Business Administration and New Zealand Agriculture, you might be the all-rounder that is the perfect fit for our close knit team!

Role details

Permanent full-time position

Remuneration Commensurate with applicant experience

Expected hours 25-40 hours/week

Working hours 8am to 5pm (Generally. Hours can be altered somewhat to fit the right applicant). Location of Work Wallacetown

For further information or to apply please follow the instructions in the ad on Trademe https://www.trademe.co.nz/3006623591

Louise Cook, General Manager

Applications Close 24th March, 2021

Research on-farm

  • The research tech team have been busy with pasture N intake week and monthly crop yield commences later in March. Looking into April they will be busy with BCS training and animal sampling.
  • The summer botanical composition analysis on all paddocks has been completed with the LI paddocks continuing to have a higher proportion of clover and lower proportion of ryegrass than the Std paddocks (Figures 5 and 6). There has been a steady increase in clover content in the Std FB paddocks
  • Interesting the paddock with the highest clover content of 58.5% was a Std FB paddock established in new grass last year. 70% of these paddocks below to the LI farmlets.
  • Almost 30% of paddocks had more than 20% clover and 20% had less than 5%
  • Because of subtle differences in post grazing height between paddocks and farmlets the samples for dissection were cut to ground level hence the higher dead content than what we normally see in pasture dissections.

Figure 5: Average percentage clover for the last 3 years for each farmlet

Figure 6: Average botanical composition for each farmlet for the last 3 seasons.

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: