2020/21 Season HUB Weekly Farm Update as at 13th May 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

NB: Hatched bars are 2021 springer paddocks.

Table 1: Key Herd Numbers 13/05/2021 – number of cows in each mob

DATE: 13 May 2021 Std Kale LI Kale Std FB LI FB Total
Current being milked 110 83 134 118 445
Sick/penos 0 1 5 4 10
Dries 48 49 19 14 130
Autumn culls 36 29 39 30 134

*milking number still includes culls that are leaving Friday this week

Table 2: Key Weather and Feeding Numbers 13/5/2021

Soil temp (C) 10.0
Rainfall (mm) 72.8
Allocations Kg DM/cow/day Std Kale LI Kale Std FB LI FB
Milkers 14.0 kg DM pasture
Inshed feeding = 3 kg DM/cow/day
Baleage as required
14.0 kg DM pasture
Inshed feeding = 3 kg DM/cow/day
Baleage as required
14.0 kg DM pasture
3 kg DM fodder beet plus
Baleage as required
13.0 kg DM pasture
3 kg DM fodder beet plus
Baleage as required

Key Decisions: this week

  • Feed planning was challenging this week due to an increasing number of mobs on the farm as cows are dried off and R2’s return to the farm on Sunday. Maintaining fodder beet in the diet of the Std and LI FB herds and minimising the risks of acidosis as they transfer between mobs is the most challenging
  • From Sunday we will have x3 dry mobs, x5 milker mobs and R2’s on farm. After teat sealing the heifers on Monday they will be split into kale and fodder beet mobs and used to open up crop paddocks and start their transition onto crop.
  • We have increased fodder beet allocation to Std and LI FB herds to 3 kg DM/cow/day (1 hour on crop). Any fodder beet herd cows pulled out for lameness or mastitis will stay in the sick mob until dry off which is scheduled for the 25th and 26th May.
  • The remaining cows in the fodder beet herds will be dried off on the 25th May and kale herds on the 26th May. By this time we will have all our crop paddocks opened up so they will be used to minimise the need to have cows on pasture at this time.
  • Based on growth over the last 2 winters and current growth we have decided to drop the cover on all farmlets slightly lower than the original feed budget so while we have dropped below the target line on the graphs we are not panicking at this stage.

Figure 1:  Autumn feed budget tracking against the plan


  • 11 young, high BW culls were sold locally this week rather than being culled through the works
  • R1’s return to the support block today. They will be run on grass over the weekend and then split into their kale and fodder beet mobs on Tuesday and the fodder beet calves will start transitioning onto beet. We are targeting 5.5 kg DM intake for both groups through June and 6 kg DM in July. Total allocations, accounting for wastage, are 7.2 and 6.7 kg DM/animal for kale and fodder beet respectively in June and 7.8 and 7.3 kg DM/animal respectively in July.
  • The R2’s will be used to take the top out of x4 springer paddocks across the farmlets. These paddocks are already at 3000 kg DM/ha!. We will take them down to approximately 2300-2400 kg DM/ha.

General Notes:

  • We identified a couple more empties from the herd test so have reduced discretionary culls in the herds affected. Last culls will go as soon as we can get space for them
  • Soil temperature has averaged 10 C again this week but 74mm of rainfall have made ground conditions quite wet in some paddocks
  • Cows dried off last Friday are cleaning up behind the milkers and being offered green chop oat silage and hay.

Figure 3: Dry cows enjoying the green chop oat baleage made from our catch crop


  • Alternating new grass paddocks will older pastures this week did not prevent the drop in production we have been experiencing when grazing the new grasses. We have enlisted the help of our PGGW agronomist to help us get to the bottom of what might be causing the production drop. While pasture cuts are indicating lower DM the pre-graze mass is still at target or above when they are being grazed and they are not nailing the residuals.

Figure 4: Std FB cows grazing new grass in paddock 70

Figure 5: kg MS/cow/day from farmlet comparison

Figure 6: Weekly average milksolids production for each farmlet (kg MS/cow/day)


  • Over the last couple of weeks all our young stock (including R2s) have been weighed and measured. When the R2s will return on Friday, they will receive Cu bolus and a short acting Se injection, before being teat sealed. We are still waiting on the LW data to come through from the grazier but the remainder of the data is summarised below.

Table 3: Liveweight and stature data for the R2’s and Yearlings

Liveweight (kg) Height (cm) Girth (cm) Length (cm)
Rising 2 yr olds
Fodder beet 124.6 183.1 124.9
Kale 125.3 183.5 125.2
Fodder beet 202.6 105.0 142.2 103.3
Kale 202.1 104.6 140.9 103.6

Animal Health

  • Dusting of DCP continues on the new pasture breaks to FB herds and to dried off cows in their grass paddock. As they move full time onto the crop DCP will be put on baleage
  • To ensure their feet are fully healed prior to winter all the lame cows in the sick mob will be dried off this week
  • Dried off cows are being checked daily when being moved to make sure they are drying down properly.

People Management and Visitors

  • The team are on the hunt for a new farm assistant for the 2021 season. See below for details.

Are you keen to join us in a world leading workplace? Looking for an engaged and detail focussed individual to join as the 6th member of our friendly, and hard-working team.

A motivated person looking to get into or further their career in the dairy industry with the right personality to fit our team and we can assist any new employee in developing their skills.

The role is as a dairy assistant, covering all farm duties including:

– Milking

– Pasture Management

– Feeding and Feeding Out

– Animal Health and Handling

– Effluent Management

– Young Stock Management

The Southern Dairy Hub is a research farm based at Wallacetown in Southland. We run 4 different farm systems across the farm, and learn all sorts of things on behalf of other farmers to help provide information for Southern Farmers on Profit, performance, Animal Welfare and Environmental outcomes.

The Dairy Farm is approximately 300 hectares, with 255 in pasture and 45 in crop, producing approximately 300,000kgMS.

We don’t have accommodation available on farm, but provide a competitive salary package that includes the value of accommodation to support staff living off farm, plus a travel allowance for staff who drive in. We will offer support to find local accommodation for the successful applicant if moving into the region.

We Winter 750 cows on farm on Kale and FodderBeet along with 200 yearlings at our nearby support block on crop.

We have a fully automated 60 bail DeLaval rotary cowshed, with in-bail milk metering, teat spray and feeding, plus walk over weights, auto-drafting and a BCS camera.

We provide safe vehicles, with a mix of 2-wheeler bikes, side-by-side vehicles, and a range of tractor sizes.

We offer a healthy and safe workplace for drug and alcohol free individuals.

Applicants should have:

– Great attitude

– Good sense of humour

– Desire to be part of a team

– Desire to be part of the foundation of the New Zealand Dairy Industry

– An existing right to work in NZ, and be presently located in NZ

– Be Quarantine Free

– NZ Drivers License

To be considered for the role, please:

– Send email a copy of your CV directly to [Email hidden]

– Ensure you provide any current Work Visa if you hold one

For questions about the role, please contact Charlie McGregor 027 207 6012

Research on-farm

  • Our research last winter has provided some practical indicators for when weather and soil conditions start to impact on animal behaviour, especially lying time.

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: