2019/20 Season HUB Weekly Farm Update as at 19th September 2019

Table 1: Farmlet feed wedges and general information

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

General Farm Information

Table 2: Key Numbers 19th September 2019

Kale Fodder beet
Soil temp (C) 6.8
Rainfall (mm) 17.4
Dry cow Intake Target (kg DM/cow) 10 kg DM pasture 10.6kg DM + 3kg DM
Springer allocation 5kg DM pasture + 5 kg DM pasture silage when following milkers
Colostrum Allocation (kg DM/cow) 16kg DM pasture + 1 kg DM/cow pasture silage
Milk Allocation 17.8kg DM 17.8kg DM
Animal Summary Std Kale LI Kale Std FB LI FB
Pink Blue Green Yellow
% Dries 9% 7% 7% 10%
% Springers 8% 10% 9% 8%
% Colostrums/Penos/OAD 8% 6% 8% 3%
% TAD Milkers (total) 74% 77% 73% 76%
Milkers receiving inshed feeding (%)
Individual kgDM/cow
Milkers being milked OAD (%) 6% 6% 5% 0%

Key Decisions: this week

  • From the feed wedges, Std. Kale and LI FB are approaching a deficit between demand and pasture growth as they approach the end of their first round. The Std. Kale have the larger predicted deficit and to prevent stop/starting inshed feeding and to give cows time to adapt to the supplement before the second round they will commence feeding at 0.5kg DM PKE/cow/day today (Friday 20th Sept). The light, OAD Std. Kales will receive 1.5kg DM PKE/cow/day. The benefit of adding supplement now will allow the round to be held and our balance date APC to be achieved.
  • The LI FB have more poorer quality paddocks remaining to graze. These paddocks are clumpy in the base which is impacting on the residual left. One paddock is targeted for topping this week.
    Our pasture samples this week also recently grazed paddocks for this herd are low in protein which could be contributing to the lower milk production.  We are not acting to address this, as it is part of the research study to examine the effects of low nitrogen systems and to demonstrate what considerations farmers would make if they chose a similar system.
  • N fertiliser was applied to all paddocks <2500kg DM/ha; these include all paddocks that have been grazed and a few that have yet to be grazed but look like they require an extra boost to kick start them; it was also applied to the support block.
    Unfortunately, as specified last week, the rates were meant to be 65kg/ha to LI and 95kg/ha for Std, however, on looking back at application rates physically applied it would appear that the contractor has applied it all at the lower rate of 65 kg/ha. Next week paddocks not receiving N in the first application should all be grazed so they will have ammo31 applied.
  • The Std. Kale & LI Kale took a hit in milk production as they grazed through one of their high cover, poor quality paddocks. They did not want to eat into the clumps, as seen in the image below, and hence is reflected in production.

Figure 2: Clumps and residual left by Std. Kale cows

Figure 3: Milk production/cow for each farmlet up to 17th September


  • We have insufficient dry cows remaining to clean up paddocks behind the LI FB milkers in a timely manner so where required residuals will need to be mechanically fixed. They are also approaching a deficit in the wedge so FB supplementation will commence next week at 0.5kg DM/FB/cow/day and increase to 1kg/cow/day if required when we get to the start of the second round.

Figure 1: APC across each farmlet ranging from 2241 to 2273kg DM/ha


  • Damaged gateways and pugged paddocks caused by restless colostrums have been identified; residuals not cleaned up properly due to dirty pasture and pugging will be mown next round
  • Colostrums will be offered 1 kg DM/day pasture silage to increase their DM intake and minimise damaging more paddocks.

General Notes:

  • Pasture is still being allocated to all herds in 12-hour breaks and when the paddocks are setup correctly, has worked well. All herds are now on 1.5 or 2 days per 2.9 ha paddock. However, the challenge has been minimising damage and getting correct feed allocations in awkward shaped paddocks that are harder to identify break sizes.
    • To ensure paddocks are cleaned up evenly at the correct residual the first break is 50-60% of the paddock whilst the last two/three breaks are split evenly and we allow back grazing to occur.
    • At weekly meetings awkward paddocks will be identified and an aerial map drawn with break positions identified. This is made more accurate and to correct size with GPS mapping.

Figure 4: Visual aerial image to guide staff and setting up breaks in awkward shaped paddocks.


  • Post Kale paddocks that are going back into kale or into grass have been ploughed. The FB paddocks will be deep ripped.
  • The dry FB cows have about one week left of FB to graze. Once they have finished they will spend a couple of days cleaning up residual FB from the paddocks that have been lifted and will the join the FB springers.

Figure 5: FB dry cows nearly through their FB paddock


  • The second round of calf dehorning is complete; next week the calves will be weighed, and two mobs moved outside.
  • The calves outside are really loving their Calf tents from TM Covers in Nelson, especially on cold, wet, windy days.   The tents endured the wind this week in good form, and kept our calves dry and happy.  With more calves being introduced outside its time to move some over to the support block. This will occur 10 days post fertiliser application.

Figure 6: The calves outside enjoying their shelter – Calf tents from TM Covers in Nelson

Animal Health

  • We only had 3 cases of mastitis during August and another 3 so far this month which is keeping our peno mob down.
  • With a number of assisted calvings we have had a number of cows treated for metritis.
  • We continue to get a couple of cows with metabolic issues each week but all these are responding quickly to treatment.
  • There is still a number of lame cow cases popping up and we will continue to educate staff on prevention and identification. Tools such as the DairyNZ Healthy hoof App are very helpful with identifying and recording these cases: https://www.dairynz.co.nz/animal/cow-health/lameness/healthy-hoof/healthy-hoof-app/


People Management and Visitors

  • Farm staff are enjoying the quieter calving days as it is allowing them more time to get all the wintering equipment back into storage and the paddocks organised for cultivation

Research on-farm

  • In trying to understand the differences in performance of the 4 herds we have summarised the pasture quality data for the last 12 months (Figures 7-9). Samples are taken from the next 2 paddocks to be grazed on a monthly basis and tested for a range of different nutrients.
  • While the LIFB paddocks grazed this week were low in crude protein, this has not been a consistent trend over the last 12 months.
  • With better than average pasture growth over winter resulting in lots of pasture through spring, low crude protein and reduced pasture quality could be contributing to lower than expected milk production on farms across the region.
  • The higher DM% reflect the higher pre-grass pasture mass in paddocks nearing the end of the first round.

Figure 7: Average monthly crude protein content of pasture for the last 12 months

Figure 8: Average monthly metabolizable energy content of pasture for the last 12 months

Figure 9: Average monthly dry matter percentage of pasture for the last 12 months

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: