2018/19 Season HUB Weekly Farm Update as at 16th August 2018

General Farm Information

Table 1: Key Numbers 16th August

Milking Platform average
Soil temp (C) 4.8
Rainfall (mls) 9.2
Av. Pasture Cover (kg DM/ha) 2354
Pasture Growth rate (kg DM/ha/day) 24
No. of cows milking 350
Av. Kg MS/cow/day N/A
Milker Intake Target (kg DM/cow) 14.1 kg DM pasture
Colostrum Intake Target (kg DM/cow) 13-14 kg DM pasture
Springer Intake Target (kg DM/cow) 10 kg total (baleage, hay & pasture

Table 2: Animal Summary by farmlet

Std Kale LI Kale Std FB LI FB Units
Pink Blue Green Yellow
Animal Summary
Milkers – TAD 58 51 74 54 cows
Colostrum 27 19 22 19 cows
Springers 24 30 33 33 cows
Sick mob 6 5 9 6 cows
Dries on crop 87 92 73 69 cows
Predicted median calving date 18 Aug 19 Aug 17 Aug 18 Aug
% calved 42 39 48 42
% of heifer replacements selected calves

Table 3: Feed Summary by farmlet

Std Kale LI Kale Std FB LI FB Units
Pink Blue Green Yellow
Paste Summary
Average pasture cover 2369 2383 2321 2343 kg DM
Growth Rate 24 35 13 23 kgDM/d
Area grazed (season to date) 10.8 12.2 10.5 7.3 ha
Cows on Crop
Kale (kg DM/cow) 7.9
Fodder beet (kg DM/cow) 9.5 9.3
Baleage (kg DM/cow) 6.1 12 4.5 4.6

NB: The target lines on these wedges are incorrect. Current area allocation is being determined from the spring rotation planner

Updated APC targets relative to the Spring Rotation Planner

Key Decisions this week

  • The milking mob has been split into their four farmlets
  • From herd test data, animals with SCC > 200,000 will be sampled for bacteriology of individual quarters and sent away for testing.
  • Feed budgets and grazing plans have been updated.
  • An increased focus on grazing LI FB paddocks (yellow farmlet) has been made to even up the area grazed across the farmlets.
  • Kale dry cows will be used on the weekend to clean up a paddock grazed by colostrum cow’s where the target residual was not acheived.
  • Increased use of the farm whiteboard and WhatsApp to keep communication up across the whole team.

General Notes:

  • Calved cows are still on 100% pasture.
  • SCC has stayed steady around 143,000 which is below last year’s value of SCC 180,000.
  • Kale cows will have finished the crop by next week and will go onto predominantly baleage.
  • Pasture readings have been varied which maybe due to wet conditions and clumping of grass in some paddocks.
  • All herds are sitting above the average pasture cover target line in the spring rotation planner (SRP) and we have ‘banked’ area on each farmlet that can be utilised to minimise damage in wet conditions.
  • The farmlet feed budgets are being updated weekly with actual APC information from the farmwalk. No supplements have been required for milking cows to meet the feed budget targets

Animal Health

  • Due to the positive staph aureus test, cows identified from the herd test with SCC >200,000 will be sampled and sent away for determination of bacterial infection.
  • All quarters are RMT at the 4th milking and must test clear before entering the milking herd.
  • Continued supplementation of MgO to springers and milkers and P to fodder beet cows.
  • Down cows are blood tested prior to receiving first skin treatment. Initial treatment – 1 bag into the vein and 1 under the skin.

People Management

  • We are still searching for a new employee to join the team.
  • A plan will be put in place to develop policies and procedures for all activities on the farm.
  • A daily checklist will be developed for staff to follow and decisions around communication and recording are being put in place.
  • In the last 2 weeks we have given out 2 Research Recognition Awards to farm staff who have gone the extra mile to support the research on the farm.

Alex received his for showing great initiative and decision making relating to the feeding of one of the fodder beet mobs

Ben received his for his development of an electronic calving notebook which has enabled the tech team to easily keep up to date with all the calving information ensuring the measurements we have planned occur on time.

Research on-farm

  • First herd test was completed this week
  • Calf measurements are on-going
  • Next week we will be taking additional measurements to estimate the N intake of each of the mobs of animals

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:

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