2018/19 Season HUB Weekly Farm Update as at 14th February 2019

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 14th February 2019

Kale Fodder beet
Soil temp (C) 16
Rainfall (mm) 14.2
Milker Intake Target (kg DM/cow) 16.5
Av. Kg MS/cow/day (##incl staph cows) 1.45 1.48
Average milk fat (%) 4.96 5.05
Average milk prot (%) 4.07 4.12
Average SCC (cells/ml) 166 164
Animal Summary Std Kale LI Kale Std FB LI FB
Pink Blue Green Yellow
Milkers – TAD 179 160 166 147
Milkers – OAD 9 7 19 9
Other/Penos 1 4 3 2

Key Decisions: this week

  • Feed wedges are in better alignment with the target line this week after taking out some additional paddocks at the top of the wedge for conservation. Potentially 1x Std FB paddock to be conserved this week.
  • The x1 Std Kale farmlet paddock that was being prepared for resowing was drilled on Tuesday evening. Sowing rates were 20 kg/ha Platform AR37, 3 kg/ha Legacy large white clover and 2 kg/ha Quartz medium white clover.  All seed was superstrike treated.
  • We are seeking additional advice on the fodder beet crops after we noticed the appearance of leaf yellowing and damage in several 1st year crop paddocks this week. These crops were looking much better than the 2nd year crop paddocks until the last week. Given the challenging start for some paddocks we are looking at options to maximise the chances of good yields. We are discussing whether a fungicide application would be beneficial for fodder beet paddocks that will be carried through for spring feeding.
  • The next round of N fertiliser across the whole farm will commence the last week of March to help extend the rotation length out to around 35 days.

Figure 1: Leaf damage emerging in a first year fodder beet paddock

General Notes:

  • The round length will continue to be held around 30 days for the next 2 weeks and paddocks dropped for conservation as required if covers exceed the herd target pre-graze mass.
  • 25 kg N/ha will start being applied to all paddocks during the last week of February with the plan to move the LI farmlets out to a 35-day rotation
  • 24-hour grazing has continued and cows are being put back into paddocks to clean up if residuals are not achieved. We are in the process of developing pasture mass trigger points for each farmlet for the farm team to use in decision making around whether there is sufficient feed to return herds to paddocks (especially for night feeds where they can’t easily be monitored) or whether they need to be moved on.
  • Some post-graze topping has been implemented this week. In the last 2 weeks the amount of mowing (topping or conservation) has varied across the farmlets as outlined in Table 3 below.


Table 3: Area mown in the last 2 weeks

Std Kale LI Kale Std FB LI FB
Area Conserved 8.7 14.5 14.5 11.6
Area Topped - 8.7 2.9 5.8
Total area mown 8.7 23.2 17.4 17.4
Total % farm mown 14 37 26 28
  • With mown paddocks often being 2-3 days slower returning to pre-graze covers and the % of the farm mown in the last 2 weeks, there will be no topping on the LI farmlets this week.
  • Weed control continues to be a major focus for the farm team – just when we think we are on top of one weed another one pops up suggesting we have a well-stocked weed seedbed on the farm!!
  • The farm are currently implementing Max-T to increase milking efficiency https://www.dairynz.co.nz/milking/rotary/maxt-rotary/ and are working on protocols for successful implementation. With lighter conditioned OAD cows in each herd it is important that these are considered when the platform speed is being set.

Animal Health

  • The x6 calves that were on the platform receiving preferential treatment have been returned to the support block.
  • One calf mob was weighed yesterday and the rest are being done today so those results will be reported next week. Calves in the action group in MINDA weights continue to receive 2 kg calf meal/day.
  • X2 mastitis cases were detected this week
  • X1 animal has been dried off after damaging muscles when she slipped in the yard.

People Management and Visitors

  • A Farmtune session with Lynsey Stratford is scheduled for next week https://www.dairynz.co.nz/business/farmtune/ . This programme looks to identify inefficiencies and waste in the systems and processes on the farm and develop practices to address these.
  • The farmer reference group met and discussed setting up for autumn and winter including rotation lengths, body condition score targets and average pasture cover targets for dry off and spring.
  • Nicole and Caitlin hosted dairy farmers on a UDV tour of NZ

Figure 2: The dairy farmers from Victoria Australia discussing why the water in the trough was a cloudy colour

  • Guy hosted students from the USA as part of a group called ‘Meeker Citizens of the World Ambassadors 2019’. 

Research on-farm

  • All calves have been weighed this week as part of the cumulative effects project.

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