2020/21 Season HUB Weekly Farm Update as at 15th October 2020

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 15/10/2020 – percentage of the herd in each mob

DATE: 15th Oct 2020 Std Kale LI Kale Std FB LI FB Total
Current Herd Numbers 197 163 197 166 723
Calved milkers 99 96 97 99 98
Calved colostrum 1 2 1 1 1
Springers 0 2 2 0 1

Table 2: Key Weather and Feeding Numbers 15/10/2020

Soil temp (C) 9.5
Rainfall (mm) 6.6
Allocations Kg DM/cow/day Std Kale LI Kale Std FB LI FB
Springers 10 pasture
MgO 50 g/cow/d +
DCP 100 g/cow/d
Colostrums 14 pasture
MgO 50 g/cow/d,
DCP 100 g/cow/d,
Limeflour 300 g/cow/d
13 pasture
MgO 50 g/cow/d,
DCP 150 g/cow/d,
Limeflour 300 g/cow/d
Milkers 13kg pasture + 5.5 kg inshed + baleage 18.5 kg DM pasture 15 kg DM pasture + 3.5kg FB 17 kg DM pasture + 1.5 kg FB

Key Decisions: this week

  • Soil temperatures have continued to increase this week and it has taken a while for paddocks to dry out from last weeks rain. Our pasture growth rates are sitting up between 36-57kg DM/day and can be seen in the graph below:

Figure 2: Average weekly pasture growth rate comparison for the four herds


  • In light of the high APC in the LI farmlets and as pasture growth increases we have stepped over x1 paddock in each of the LI farmlets to allow us to speed up the rotation length to 21 days (24 hours/pdk with no break fence. Last season we stayed on a longer rotation for these herds for too long and struggled to hit residual so have decided to bit the bullet and speed up.
  • We have removed all supplement from the LI Kale herd as their pre-graze covers meet demand, however will continue with 1.5 kg DM fodder beet to the LI FB herd until we have the correct pre-graze covers to drop it out.
  • The milk production of the Std Kale herd has flat lined for the last 2 weeks when they should be increasing. They have the lowest APC. Inshed feeding will be increased to 4.5kg DM/cow/day offered and baleage will be fed as required.
  • The last of the FB has been lifted and sold. There was quite a bit of surplus beet bulb left behind in the paddock after lifting so the FB farmlet cows will go through and clean this up. Once cleaned up the Std. FB will once again receive FB fed out across the whole pdk at 3.5kg DM/cow/day with a fence separating the 12-hour breaks to prevent new cows entering the herd from gorging.

Figure 3: Lifted FB sold and ready to be picked up


  • We are planning the next round of N fertiliser applications to the Std pdks but with some paddocks still being quite wet we will assess the best way for this to be applied. All paddocks have received their first round application of N fertiliser.

General Notes:

  • Our milk graphs this week continue to show the Std. Kale below the other farmlets in MS production/cow. Inshed feeding will increase to the Std. Kale farmlet to ensure a more consistent quality being eaten and both the Std farmlets will continue to receive baleage based off residuals left.

Figure 4: Farmlet comparison of kg MS/cow/day each week of season

Figure 5: Farmlet comparison of kg MS/ha/day each week of season


  • Average pasture cover in the Std Farmlets has been significantly lower than the same time last year while the LI farmlets have been similar for the last month.

Figure 6: Average pasture cover trends for 2020-21 and 2019-20


  • At the end of last week, the team did weights, stature measurements, copper bolus and selenium supplementation to our R2s at the grazier. The stock was looking good and they picked a great day to head out. The FB replacements average liveweight is currently 278 kg and the kale replacements 276 kg. With a herd mature LW of approximately 480 kg this puts the replacements at 57% of mature LW – just off the 60% target for mating.

Figure 7: R2s awaiting measurements at graziers


  • Our focus this week will be spraying and preparing crop paddocks. All springer paddocks to be used for cropping have been grazed out and ready to be sprayed. We are going to be setting up a FB cropping trial for winter 2021 comparing conventional, strip tillage and direct drill and plans of how we will implement this are being drawn up and put past our Farmer Reference Group.
  • Drainage works across the farm is continuing as the wet weather in the last month has identified a few more drainage issues in some paddocks.
  • With all the rain and saturated ground conditions our effluent pond had got quite full. We have now got down to a more manageable level of 81%.
  • All of our calves were weighed and received their vaccination this week. We hope to have all x230 calves outside at the support block by the end of the month.

Animal Health

  • We have another x100 cows to be metri-checked tomorrow
  • One cow had blood and faecal tests taken for Johnes. Although she produces a lot of milk she has a history of struggling to keep condition on each season.
  • We are constantly reviewing individual cow BCS and have a management plan for any low BCS cows in each herd. We are starting to see a spread in BCS across the herds as we approach peak milk production and the end of calving.

Figure 8: BCS spread of the four herds (Std herds have 197 cows; LI herds have 165 cows)

People Management and Visitors

  • It was a big milestone this week as we finally have signs at our entrance welcoming you to SDH.

Figure 8: New signs at SDH


  • Earlier this week the farm hosted AGM’s for all the partner organisations – SDDT, SDH and SDRF; there was also a Research Advisory Group meeting
  • This week we are hosting BCS calibration training on farm.

Research on-farm

  • Our spring N intake sampling have been completed this week – this involved the normal monthly feed quality sampling and pre and post plating of paddocks grazed but also includes blood, urine, faeces and milk samples being collected for N determination from 20-25 cows in each herd during a morning and afternoon milking.

Figure 9: Roshean taking milk samples for N intake week


  • The results of the October pasture samples for our Participatory Research satellite farms are in and summarised below. Differences are starting to appear in dry matter, crude protein, calcium, potassium and sulphur between the farms.

Table 3: Participatory research farm pasture quality summary for October 2020

Dry Matter Crude protein ME NDF Magnesium Calcium Phosphorus Potassium Sulphur
Dingle - Northern Southland 13.8 29.7 12.2 41.7 0.19 0.51 0.46 3.9 0.38
McLeod - West Otago 16.5 20.5 12.1 40.6 0.19 0.47 0.44 3.6 0.30
Pemberton - Eastern Southland 18.0 21.9 12.4 44.1 0.21 0.43 0.41 2.9 0.29
Wells - Tairei 14.7 23.6 12.1 41.3 0.22 0.69 0.44 3.5 0.40

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: