2020/21 Season HUB Weekly Farm Update as at 17th September 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 17/09/2020 – percentage of the herd in each mob

DATE: 17th Sept 2020  Std Kale LI Kale Std FB LI FB
Calved milking 81% 77% 81% 82%
Calved colostrum 2% 3% 3% 2%
Springers 8% 7% 9% 8%
Dries on crop 7% 7%
Dries on grass 9% 12%

Table 2: Key Weather and Feeding Numbers 17/09/2020

Soil temp (C) 6.7
Rainfall (mm) 32
Allocations Kg DM/cow/day Std Kale LI Kale Std FB LI FB
Dry cows on crop 9.5 crop + 3 baleage
DCP 50 g/cow/d
Springers 8 pasture + 2.5 baleage
MgO 50 g/cow/d
8 pasture + 2.5 baleage
MgO 50 g/cow/d + DCP 100 g/cow/d
Colostrums 15 pasture
MgO 50 g/cow/d,
DCP 100 g/cow/d,
Limeflour 300 g/cow/d
15 pasture
MgO 50 g/cow/d,
DCP 150 g/cow/d,
Limeflour 300 g/cow/d
Milkers 16kg pasture + 2 kg inshed 18 kg DM pasture 16.5 kg DM pasture + 1.5kg FB 18 kg DM pasture

Key Decisions: this week

  • This week the key decision has been to add supplement to the diet of the Std. farmlets. This is due to the increasing herd size and decreasing pre-graze covers. We have sped up the rotation to 3 grazings/pdk (approx. 30 days) for the Std farmlets but don’t want to go faster than this yet. The LI farmlets are still on 4 grazings/pdk due to higher pre-graze covers.
    • The Std FB will receive FB as their supplement, starting on 0.5kg Friday and building to 1.5kg by Monday. We will assess how the transition is going to whether we increase to 2kg; we cannot exceed 2kg FB due to cows still entering the milking mob after calving.
    • The Std. kale will start inshed feeding at 0.5kg DM/cow and building up to 2kg by Monday. If residuals show that more supplement is required then baleage will be fed out rather than speeding up the rotation further.
  • The LI farmlets do not need supplement at this stage, but once their rotation begins to speed up then we will reassess pasture cover and additional supplement requirements.
  • Unfortunately, the paddocks are too wet for fertiliser applications. As soon as is practical and when weather conditions allow, nitrogen will be applied via helicopter to all grazed paddocks and any first round pastures less than 2500 kg DM/ha. Factors we will be considering include
    • Average soil temperature and trend i.e >7 ˚C and consistently rising
    • Soil moisture levels – avoiding saturated soils
  • When conditions are right the Std. farmlets will receive 30kg N/ha as Ammo31 and the LI will receive 20kg N/ha as granular ammonium sulphate. The reason for the difference in product is to ensure the same application of sulphate to the Std. and LI farmlets.
  • With about 45 T DM of FB left to graze we will keep our late FB dries on crop for as long as possible. We have estimated we will have about 36 T DM of bulb for lifting and potentially selling some of the surplus however we need to revisit our spring feed budgets to ensure we have enough supplement on hand.
  • To ensure consistent intake of minerals with the wet weather we have been applying the minerals onto the baleage in the springers and dusting directly in front of the cows for the colostrum and milker mobs.

General Notes:

  • As anticipated, it has been an unpleasant week of weather. Tuesday night we experienced strong winds, thunder and lightening plus a large deluge of rain. Overall we have had 32mls of rain this week. Thankfully the calving rate has slowed considerably so not too many calves have been born during this period.
  • Minimising pugging damage and maintaining utilisation is hard work when the weather is cold and wet and when we have multiple grazings in each paddock. Main areas of damage include around troughs and gateways. We have been utilising front and back gateways and splitting the paddocks in half lengthwise to minimise damage plus increasing the allocation in really bad conditions to maintain intakes. This will mean there will be some paddocks for tidying up in the next round.
  • Below is the BCS camera results for milkers. On average the milkers sit at BCS 4.7 (Std kale), 4.8 (LI kale), 4.9 (Std. FB) and 4.7 (LI FB). The second graph shows the liveweight of the farmlets and surprisingly the Std. farmlets are on average heavier than the LI cows! Some of these differences could be a result of calving rates and who is currently in milk. We will have a better idea of treatment differences once all cows are in milk.

Figure 3: Weekly BCS averages change across each farmlet

Figure 4: Weekly Lwt averages change across each farmlet


  • Milk production has remained static over the last week during the challenging weather conditions (Figure 5). With the introduction of supplement to the Std farmlets we hope to see a continual rise in milk production.
  • Overall milk production for the farm is still ahead of the last 2 seasons on both season to date and on a daily basis.

Figure 5: Herd daily milk solids production


  • With a couple of warm days scheduled over the weekend, and the calf sheds getting pretty full, it is time to put some calves outside. Calves 50 kg lwt or greater will be in the paddocks for fence training for a few days before heading to the support block. Luckily we have our calf tents for extra shelter and hopefully these hold up with the wild winds we have been having lately!
  • Looking at our replacement calves we have x39 LI Kale, x54 LI FB, x57 Std. Kale, and x59 Std. FB.

Animal Health

  • Last Friday we did a check of all high SCC cows following the herd test. Of these cows x7 were treated with 2 of them showing clinical symptoms and the remaining deemed to have sub clinical mastitis.
  • We continue to dust and give minerals to all cows. DCP has been dusted onto baleage for the FB dry cows. We have been dusting minerals onto baleage for the springers to maximise intake during the wet conditions.

People Management and Visitors

  • We had the Southland/South Otago DairyNZ team out for a visit on Monday for their monthly Regional Day. It was great to catchup with the team along with a visit from Kate Scott and Walt Denley (Landpro) and Fonterra Michael Blomfield and Cane Duncan. Under Covid Level 2 restrictions we have to be mindful of who is visiting the farm and how we minimise risks to our team.
  • Once again we are planning for our post calving field day scheduled for the 8th October, if you haven’t done so already, please put this date in your calendar and come and see us!

Research on-farm

  • Our monthly pasture quality and N intake estimation measurements have commenced for this season. Below is a summary of our first-round pasture quality by treatment (2 paddocks per farmlet). There are small differences between the farmlets but these are most likely due to differences in cultivar and days since grazing rather than treatment effects.
  • We also did the monthly feed quality sampling on our Participatory Research farms this week so their data have been included in the table below as well. Just waiting on the results back from the Tairei farm.

Table 3: Pasture quality summary from 2 paddocks per farmlet

Dry matter Crude Protein ME NDF Phosphorus Calcium Magnesium
% % of DM MJ/kg DM % of DM % w/w % w/w % w/w
LI FB 19.9 17.8 11.6 44.6 0.37 0.66 0.16
LI Kale 19.3 19.2 11.9 41.0 0.37 0.55 0.15
Std FB 19.0 22.2 12.0 43.4 0.40 0.49 0.18
Std Kale 18.6 21.0 11.7 43.9 0.39 0.50 0.16
Eastern Southland 14.1 23.7 12.1 42.2 0.47 0.54 0.25
Northern Southland 17.7 25.1 12.7 37.6 0.44 0.57 0.17
South Otago 17.8 21.6 12.3 38.5 0.41 0.49 0.15

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: