2017/18 Season HUB Weekly Farm Update as at 19th March 2018

Farm fieldday with Dr Dawn Dalley from DairyNZ explaining the 4 new farm systems to be implemented for the next 3 years at SDH.

Week ending 19th March 2018

Table 1: Key Numbers week ending 19th March 2018

Av. Pasture Cover 2494 kg DM/ha
Round Length 42 days
Pasture Growth rate 38 kg DM/day
Soil temp 12.5 C
Rainfall 12.5mm
No. of cows milking 641 cows
Av. Supplement used (milkers) 0.250 kg DM/cow/day
Av. Kg MS/cow/day 1.45 kg MS/cow/day
Av. Kg MS/ha 3.7 kg MS/ha
Milking frequency 3in2

Week summary:

  • Baleage cut and baled
  • 250 grams concentrate offered inshed to encourage cow flow
  • Cows back on target residuals
  • Cow BCS 4.6

Critical Targets this week

  • Fieldday 15th March
  • R2’s return to support block

Herd & Production

  • Four herds split evenly on age, BW / PW and on the winter crop trial treatment groups 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).
  • Staph Aureus has been identified in approximately 40 cows at The Hub. A high bulk SCC and cows not reacting quickly to treatment encouraged investigation leading to this diagnosis.
  • Infected cows have drafted out and are being milked last to prevent the spread of this infection.

Table 2: Herd & Production

Herds on Milking Platform Unit Value
Milkers - 3 in 2 cows 641
Milkers - OAD cows 0
Colostrum cows 0
Springers cows 0
Sick mob (1 x penicillin, In the vat: 2 x lames and 28 x HSCC cows) All but 4 in vat cows 8
Culls / deaths cows 0
Current Stocking Rate (platform; not counting R1’s) cows/ha 2.6
Production (to the factory) (28/02/18)
Total Milksolids (YTD) kgMS 213,457
Total Milksolids (MTD) kgMS 14,640
Total Milksolids (last 7 days) kgMS 5,358
Average per cow daily production (last 7 days) kgMS/cow/day 1.45
Per ha production (last 7 days) kgMS/ha 3.7
Other (to the factory)
Protein:Fat Ratio (7-day avg.) % 0.83
Milk Urea (7-day avg.) mg/dl 28.1
SCC (7-day avg.) cells/ml 145,000
Fat Evaluation Index (FEI) A
Fonterra 17/18 Forecast - as at 7th Dec 17 $/kgMS $6.40

Milking frequency

  • Milking frequency will remain at 3in2 due to staff preference and per cow milk production dropping from 1.6 to 1.45kg MS/cow/day


  • 15.5% of the cows below ≤BCS 4. Options for these animals have been considered and the plan is to milk all animals as far into Autumn as possible whilst not compromising the target BCS at calving of 5 for m/a cows and 5.5 for heifers and second calvers. Lighter cows will be managed to achieve this via –
  • Preferential in-shed feeding of all cows if they are judged BCS to be at 4 or less of 1kg/50:50 PKE and Barley/cow/milking
  • Using DairyNZ tools to set final dry off date in relation to their calving date and required BCS weight gain required


  • Slow release Copper bolus required in the next 3 months prior to going on crop
  • Empty heifers have left farm

R2 heifers cleaning up after milking herd

Feed Management

  • The four herds are to remain on their allocated farmlets at all times. The 2017/18 season aim is to feed all cows in a similar manner all season. Any differences to be recorded. 
  • Decision rules for Cows of BCS 4 or less are that they can be fed extra supplement in the shed as required by the farm team and be milked OAD but will remain in their allocated herds for research purposes.
  • The concentrate in the shed is a 50:50 mix of PKE and barley.

Table 3: Feed Offered

Milkers – Pasture offered kgDM/cow/day 17
Milkers - Fodder Beet kgDM/cow/day 0
Milkers - Pasture Silage kgDM/cow/day 0
Milkers - Concentrates – 3 in 2 Cows (shed) kgDM/cow/day 0.250
Milkers - Concentrates – 3 in 2 Cows (pdk) kgDM/cow/day 0
Milkers - Concentrates - OAD Cows kgDM/cow/day 0
  • Cows back hitting residual targets now settled on a 42-day round. Cooler weather has increased feed demand on 2/7 days, dropping residuals below target – to be watched.
  • Cows each offered in-shed 250gm concentrate (50/50 PKE: Barley) to encourage cow flow, cows BCS 4 or less offered 1kg/milking
  • Round length extended to 42-days

Crop feeding

If the winter feed budget allows, fodder beet will be considered as a supplement for milkers late season.

This will allow the farm team to:

  • Offer a supplement feed with pasture to take pressure off the APC late in the season
  • Introduce the cows to beet through early winter transition
  • Open up the fodder beet paddock face ready for winter and ease of grazing
  • Avoid the use of pasture paddocks when transitioning onto fodder beet early winter (and the pugging damage associated)

Land, Pasture, Crop & Silage Management

  • Total area is 327ha(eff), 32.5ha(eff) young stock block and 294ha(eff) platform. Winter crop is grown on both blocks for all stock.
  • Crop rotation is two years in crop then re-grass. PGG Wrightson grass cultivars used are Rely, Platform and Excess, all diploids.
  • Where target residuals are missed, topping after grazing is the tool the farm team use as needed.

Table 4: Land, Pasture, Crop & Silage Metrics

Pre - Graze cover target kgDM/ha 3350
Post - Graze cover target kgDM/ha 1600
Average Pasture Cover (avg. over 4 farmlets) kgDM/ha 2494
Growth Rate (avg. over 4 farmlets) kgDM/ha/day 38
Rotation Length (avg. over 4 farmlets) days 42
Area Available for grazing (milkers) ha 252
Regrassing Area (out of rotation) ha 0
Baleage/Silage Area (out of rotation) ha 0
Crop Area (out of rotation) ha 49.6
Aeration Area ha 0.0
Total platform effective ha 300
Young Stock (not included in rotation) ha 29.0

Pasture management

  • Growth rate measured at 38kg DM/ha/day. This is the second week in a row with a similar measurement, some of which may be as a result of lodging in paddocks shut up for baleage impacting the readings done with the C-Dax.
  • Rotation length down to 34-36 days for part of this week with contractors mowing baleage. This area will be out of the round and returned to the round in a short time.


  • Application of effluent occurs most days (as conditions allow) with the aim to keep the pond at or below 15% full for the autumn. This is effectively as low as the pond can be pumped and is the % full measured at this point.

Table 5: Nitrogen use on Farm

Nitrogen (Urea only)(last 7 days) Unit
Area (Winter crop) ha
Rate kg/N/ha
Fertiliser (last 7 days) Unit
Area ha 0
Rate kg/ha 0
Climate conditions
Rainfall (total last 7 days) mm 12.5
Soil Temp (7-day average) @10am °C 12.5

Reproductive Performance

  • The herd had an empty rate of 7 – 11%. This is either 7% of cows scanned or 11% of cows mated. The 11% is from that start of mating inclusive of cows culled due to Staph outbreak and the dry period.

Table 6: Reproduction Metrics

Planned start of Mating (PSM) Target Actual Unit
Mixed Aged Cows 29-Oct-17 Date
2016 Born Heifers 21-Oct-17 Date
Calving spread
3 weeks 64 %
6 weeks 83 %
9 weeks 97 %
3 week Submission Rate 90 91 %
6 week in-calf rate 78 79 %
Empty Rate 10 7-11 %

Research Update (fortnightly)

No update this week

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:


People Management

  • Nearing the end of our FarmTune programme with DairyNZ.