2017/18 Season HUB Weekly Farm Update as at 13th March 2018

The level of the effluent pond is continuing to drop with increased paddock applications where possible

Week ending 13th March 2018

Table 1: Key Numbers week ending 13th March 2018

Av. Pasture Cover 2793 kg DM/ha
Round Length 42 days
Pasture Growth rate 30 kg DM/day
Soil temp 14.5 C
Rainfall 1mmC
No. of cows milking 641 cows
Av. Supplement used (milkers) 0.250 kg DM/cow/day
Av. Kg MS/cow/day 1.45 kg MS/cow/day
Av. Kg MS/ha 3.7 kg MS/ha
Milking frequency 3in2

Week summary:

  • Round length 42 days (including baleage paddocks)
  • Baleage cut delayed due to weather; targeting Friday or Saturday this week
  • Decision to stay on 3in2 milking frequency
  • All empty heifers removed off farm (Wednesday 7th March)
  • 250 grams concentrate offered inshed to encourage cow flow
  • Continue to follow cows with 55kg N/ha
  • Cows struggling to hit target residuals; R2’s being used to help clean up behind
  • Cow BCS 4.6

Critical Targets this week

  • Baleage cut
  • R2’s return to support block

Herd & Production

  • Four herds split evenly on age, BW / PW and on the winter crop trial treatment groups 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).
  • Staph Aureus has been identified in approximately 40 cows at The Hub. A high bulk SCC and cows not reacting quickly to treatment encouraged investigation leading to this diagnosis.
  • Infected cows have drafted out and are being milked last to prevent the spread of this infection.

Table 2: Herd & Production

Herds on Milking Platform Unit Value
Milkers - 3 in 2 cows 641
Milkers - OAD cows 0
Colostrum cows 0
Springers cows 0
Sick mob (1 x penicillin, In the vat: 2 x lames and 28 x HSCC cows) All but 4 in vat cows 8
Culls / deaths cows 0
Current Stocking Rate (platform; not counting R1’s) cows/ha 3.04
Production (to the factory) (28/02/18)
Total Milksolids (YTD) kgMS 208,100
Total Milksolids (MTD) kgMS 11,126
Total Milksolids (last 7 days) kgMS 5,529
Average per cow daily production (last 7 days) kgMS/cow/day 1.45
Per ha production (last 7 days) kgMS/ha 3.7
Other (to the factory)
Protein:Fat Ratio (7-day avg.) % 0.81
Milk Urea (7-day avg.) mg/dl 30.1
SCC (7-day avg.) cells/ml 146,000
Fat Evaluation Index (FEI) A
Fonterra 17/18 Forecast - as at 7th Dec 17 $/kgMS $6.40

Milking frequency

  • Milking frequency will remain at 3in2 due to staff preference and per cow milk production dropping from 1.6 to 1.45kg MS/cow/day


  • 15.5% of the cows below ≤BCS 4. Options for these animals are being discussed. Factors being considered are:
    • Calving date
    • Logisitics of OAD milking within the 3 in 2 regime
    • Current milk production
    • Autumn feeding plans
  • Inshed feeding was monitored to see which cows were eating all of the feed offered and how it corresponded to their BCS


  • Bloods and liver biopsy were taken from heifers as concerned with brown coats and coarse fur. Selenium, Copper and B12 were all at normal levels from the x3 heifer’s liver biopsy tests.
  • Advised by vet to give a slow release Copper bolus in the next 3 months prior to going on crop
  • R2’s will return back to the support block later this week/next week as spending too long in paddocks cleaning up after cows
  • Empty heifers have left farm

R2 heifers cleaning up after milking herd

Feed Management

  • The four herds are to remain on their allocated farmlets at all times. The 2017/18 season aim is to feed all cows in a similar manner all season. Any differences to be recorded. 
  • Decision rules for Cows of BCS 4 or less are that they can be fed extra supplement in the shed as required by the farm team and be milked OAD but will remain in their allocated herds for research purposes.
  • The concentrate in the shed is a 50:50 mix of PKE and barley.

Table 3: Feed Offered

Milkers – Pasture offered kgDM/cow/day 17
Milkers - Fodder Beet kgDM/cow/day 0
Milkers - Pasture Silage kgDM/cow/day 0
Milkers - Concentrates – 3 in 2 Cows (shed) kgDM/cow/day 0.250
Milkers - Concentrates – 3 in 2 Cows (pdk) kgDM/cow/day 0
Milkers - Concentrates - OAD Cows kgDM/cow/day 0
  • Cows struggling to hit residual of 1600kgDM/ha. Concerns over what cows are offered vs. what they are actually eating.
  • Cows each offered inshed 250gm concentrate (50/50 PKE: Barley) to encourage cow flow
  • Round length extended to 42-days

Crop feeding

If the winter feed budget allows, fodder beet will be considered as a supplement for milkers late season.

This will allow the farm team to:

  • Offer a supplement feed with pasture to take pressure off the APC late in the season
  • Introduce the cows to beet through early winter transition
  • Open up the fodder beet paddock face ready for winter and ease of grazing
  • Avoid the use of pasture paddocks when transitioning onto fodder beet early winter (and the pugging damage associated)

Land, Pasture, Crop & Silage Management

  • Total area is 327ha(eff), 32.5ha(eff) young stock block and 294ha(eff) platform. Winter crop is grown on both blocks for all stock.
  • Crop rotation is two years in crop then re-grass. PGG Wrightson grass cultivars used are Rely, Platform and Excess, all diploids.
  • Where target residuals are missed, topping after grazing is the tool the farm team use as needed.

Table 4: Land, Pasture, Crop & Silage Metrics

Pre - Graze cover target kgDM/ha 3350
Post - Graze cover target kgDM/ha 1600
Average Pasture Cover (avg. over 4 farmlets) kgDM/ha 2793
Growth Rate (avg. over 4 farmlets) kgDM/ha/day 30
Rotation Length (avg. over 4 farmlets) days 42
Area Available for grazing (milkers) ha 213
Regrassing Area (out of rotation) ha 0
Baleage/Silage Area (out of rotation) ha 0
Crop Area (out of rotation) ha 49.6
Aeration Area ha 0.0
Total platform effective ha 300
Young Stock (not included in rotation) ha 29.0

Pasture management

  • Growth rate measured at 30kg DM/ha/day however we feel this is likely to be an underestimate on heavier paddocks due to flattening by the vehicle towing the c-dax before measurement
  • Still waiting to cut baleage paddocks due to weather restrictions. Aiming for Friday/Saturday this week; this will momentarily bring rotation length down to 34-36 days

Crop management

  • 55kg N/ha applied to 91ha behind the cows


  • Effluent pond is going down due to the application of effluent most days (as conditions allow)
  • 1.8 million litres was applied with the umbilical cord Wednesday/Thursday last week

Table 5: Nitrogen use on Farm

Nitrogen (Urea only)(last 7 days) Unit
Area (Winter crop) ha 91
Rate kg/N/ha 55
Fertiliser (last 7 days) Unit
Area ha 0
Rate kg/ha 0
Climate conditions
Rainfall (total last 7 days) mm 1
Soil Temp (7-day average) @10am °C 14.5

Reproductive Performance

  • The herd had an empty rate of 7 – 11%. This is either 7% of cows scanned or 11% of cows mated. The 11% is from that start of mating inclusive of cows culled due to Staph outbreak and the dry period.

Table 6: Reproduction Metrics

Planned start of Mating (PSM) Target Actual Unit
Mixed Aged Cows 29-Oct-17 Date
2016 Born Heifers 21-Oct-17 Date
Calving spread
3 weeks 64 %
6 weeks 83 %
9 weeks 97 %
3 week Submission Rate 90 91 %
6 week in-calf rate 78 79 %
Empty Rate 10 7-11 %

Research Update (fortnightly)

No update this week

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:


People Management