2018/19 Season HUB Weekly Farm Update as at 16th May 2019

Table 1: Farmlet feed wedges and general information

*The blue dashed line is the target line without supplementary feeding

*If you are struggling to view the tables and wedges you can download the pdf here

General Farm Information

Table 2: Key Numbers 16th May 2019

Kale Fodder beet
Soil temp (C) 9.6
Rainfall (mm) 58.4
Milker Intake Target (kg DM/cow) 16.0
Av. Kg MS/cow/day 1.09 (- 0.02) 0.97 (- 0.08)
Average milk fat (%) 6.42 (+ 0.04) 6.48 (+ 0.09)
Average milk prot (%) 5.04 (+ 0.01) 5.09 (0.00)
Average SCC (cells/ml) 220 (+ 8) 218 (+ 17)
Animal Summary Std Kale LI Kale Std FB LI FB
Pink Blue Green Yellow
Milkers – OAD 154 151 163 138
Other/Penos 4 2 5 1
DRY 1 0 0 1

Key Decisions: this week

  • The Std farmlet’s APC is sitting well leading up to dry off next week. Their covers are above the dry off target of 2000kg DM/ha. The LI farmlets are sitting at or just below their target dry off cover of 2100kg DM/ha, especially the LI FB farmlet. Due to the earlier than planned dry off date, it is hoped that there is still another 10 days growth that can be achieved post-dry off to help build covers for spring.
  • The current weather conditions have made this week quite challenging on farm. It is important to minimise pasture damage due to the wet conditions, but also ensure cows are fully fed due to lowered utilisation and colder temperatures. Extra supplement has been fed out and cows moved on before paddocks become too damaged. It has been decided to continue feeding 2kg of PKE inshed to the kale farmlet while the weather is poor. You can read more about wet weather management here: https://www.dairynz.co.nz/Search/Results?Term=wet+weather

Figure 2: Some surface flooding can be seen around the farm which has made on-farm grazing management challenging this week


  • Cows are booked in to be dried off Tuesday/Wednesday next week. We will be using vets to teat seal and dry cow. The drying off procedure will involve the cows being fed a total of 12kg DM/cow for 2 days, which will include 4kg FB (for the FB farmlets, kale farmlets will make this up with baleage and hay), baleage and hay, and the rest pasture. The cows will be run in their FB and kale herds, and when the R2s return at the end of the month all herds will then be split into ‘heavies’ and ‘lights and R2s’ FB and Kale mobs, totalling 8 mobs of cows on crop (and x2 mobs of R1s).

General Notes:

  • Milk production on the FB farmlets has dropped this week but the kale farmlets have remained stable.
  • The FB farmlet cows will be receiving 3.5-4kg of FB this week. Today, due to wet conditions, the FB could not be lifted in paddock. This means that the cows will be grazed on the FB crop each morning after milking to receive their daily FB allocation once the lifted FB runs out. To prevent some cows eating more than others, the cows will be held at the shed until all the cows have finished milking and then go to the FB crop together. To open up the paddocks, a time based approach will initially be used with cows grazed for no more than 1 hour on the first 2 days.   
  • The last pregnancy scan will occur tomorrow. Currently there are x23 positive Johnes cows and x6 discretionary cows to be culled. To allow for a 21% replacement rate, x25 heifers are being sourced.
  • Hay arrived today. A supplement inventory was calculated for autumn, winter (on crop), and spring. More baleage has been purchased to meet these requirements.
  • R2 heifers have been booked for teat sealing when they return from the grazier at the end of the month. They will have pre-winter blood samples taken next week as part of the research monitoring.
  • After bloods next week the Kale R1s will be transitioned onto crop. The FB calves are doing well and receive x1 bale/day and fed at a ratio of 60:40 FB:baleage.
  • The BCS results show that the kale cows have increased slightly. Both FB mobs are lower in BCS with the Std farmlet averaging 4.3, whilst the Std FB cows are sitting at the lowest average BCS. Despite the lower average the FB herds have fewer cows less than BCS 4. 

Table 3: BCS average per farmlet and % less than BCS 4

Std Kale LI Kale Std FB LI FB
Pink Blue Green Yellow
BCS 4.5 (+0.1) 4.5 (+0.1) 4.3 4.4 (-0.1)
% less than BCS 4 5 (+2%) 7 5 (-2%) 4 (+1%)
  • Wet and windy conditions pose a threat to tall kale crops. After inspection, there appears to be minimal lodging in our crops but some bent stalks.

Figure 3: Effect of wet, windy weather on kale crops

Animal Health

  • After a recheck of the Johnes results, it has been confirmed that there are x23 positive Johnes cases in the herd. The number of Johnes cows per farmlet can be seen below and these cows will be culled.

Table 4: Number of cows per farmlet positive for Johnes

Std Kale LI Kale Std FB LI FB Total
Pink Blue Green Yellow
Number of cows positive for Johnes 9 7 5 2 23
  • 3 cases of mastitis were picked up this week

People Management and Visitors

  • Due to a change in personal circumstances Alex Lowe will be leaving us at the end of the month. Alex has shown a real interest in the research on the farm and has been an active contributor in the Farm Tune processes over the last 6 months.

Research on-farm

  • The weather this week has delayed the pre-winter crop yield assessments. These will be scheduled for next week around drying off and measurements on the calves.
  • We are currently in discussions around an opportunity for some additional measurements on grazing behaviour with the R1’s on crop over the winter

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 richard.kyte@southerndairyhub.co.nz

For more information check out the DairyNZ link: