2018/19 Season HUB Weekly Farm Update as at 13th December 2018

Table 1: Farmlet feed wedges and general information

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

General Farm Information

Table 2: Key Numbers 13th December 2018

Kale Fodder beet
Soil temp (C) 15.5
Rainfall (mm) 1.6
Milker Intake Target (kg DM/cow) 18
Av. Kg MS/cow/day (##incl staph cows) 1.65 1.65
Average milk fat (%) 4.81 4.88
Average milk prot (%) 3.86 3.86
Average SCC (cells/ml) 137,000 147,000
Animal Summary Std Kale LI Kale Std FB LI FB
Pink Blue Green Yellow
Milkers – TAD 167 149 160 132
Milkers – OAD 10 4 16 11
Other/Penos 7 5 2 9
Staph 8 14 11 10

Key Decisions: this week

  • With the new grass paddocks back in the rotation and current pre-graze covers rotation lengths will be between 22 and 25 days across the farmlets. Depending on pre-graze pasture cover and quality, paddocks will either be grazed in 2 vs. 3 breaks/paddock. Break fences will continue to be used for both grazing strategies.
  • An assessment will be made of the new grass paddocks with our PGGW technical field reps at the beginning of next week. They have all been grazed and topped but with a high weed burden (willow weed, spurrey, fathen and nettle) and low clover content we have been debating the value of spraying to ensure the ryegrass has optimum opportunity to compete well.   
  • N fertiliser will be applied to LI farmlet paddocks that have been harvested for surplus or are in new grass at a rate of 25kg N/ha. Std. farmlets below 90kg N/ha will continue to receive N until they have all received the same amount; new grass std. farmlets has also received 25kg N/ha.
  • Last week a total of x39 bales were made on x5 std. farmlet paddocks. No area has been shut up this week as none of the farm systems are in surplus.

General Notes:

  • This week casual staff were employed to remove bolters from the fodder beet paddocks. It was essential to remove the bolters now as if a bolter matures and drops seed the performance and yield of any subsequent fodder beet crops in these paddocks will be highly compromised due to germination of bolter seeds from the soil seed bank.
  • All 2019 FB paddocks received a weed spray this week.
  • The kale paddocks have germinated well and will be monitored for weeds and pests on a weekly basis.
  • Next week will mark the end of 6 weeks AI. The bulls that are currently running with the R2’s will come back to the farm and will be put out with the cows. Six week repro results will be reported in next weeks notes.
  • The last week has been challenging on farm due to flooding. Some of the new crop was flooded but at this stage it is thought that the water flooded and receded in a slow enough manner to prevent crop loss. These areas will be monitored over the next few weeks to establish whether they need to be re-sown. A few newly made bales of baleage at the support block were flooded in one of the low lying paddocks; if your baleage or silage stack was also flooded, you can read about what you need to be mindful of: https://www.dairynz.co.nz/media/5787854/my-wrapped-baleage-or-silage-stack-got-flooded.pdf?_cldee=bmljb2xlLmUuaGFtbW9uZEBkYWlyeW56LmNvLm56&recipientid=contact-74d3043b6fe2e111badf005056ba000b-30a5901a1ade42e6a92d230356f30c97&esid=9a0481ca-247b-e711-8de4-005056ba000b&urlid=3


Animal Health

  • When the calves were yarded for weighing, measurement’s and drenching this week it was noted that a proportion of them had a persistent cough before being drenched. The vet diagnosed a lungworm infection. The 18 most affected animals were treated to minimise the risk of developing pneumonia. They will get a second treatment and monitored as the drench will start killing of the lungworm and this is when secondary infection like pneumonia could occur.

People Management

  • Two milk harvesters have been employed to firstly assist during the holiday period and then to cover up to 8 milkings per week to free up farm staff to get jobs done round the farm

Research on-farm

  • As part of the ongoing monitoring of the calves for the cumulative effects project all calves were weighed, measured and drenched today; results will be available next week.

Diagram 1: Weighing young stock at the support block


  • The tech team will be taking a well-deserved break over much of the holiday period but will be in to update all the data and complete a farm walk on the 27th December and 3rd January.

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: