2020/21 Season HUB Weekly Farm Update as at 1st October 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 1/10/2020 – percentage of the herd in each mob

DATE: 17th Sept 2020  Std Kale LI Kale Std FB LI FB
Calved milking 95% 89% 91% 90%
Calved colostrum 2% 6% 1% 5%
Springers 3% 5% 8% 5%

Table 2: Key Weather and Feeding Numbers 1/10/2020

Soil temp (C) 6.7
Rainfall (mm) 37.6
Allocations Kg DM/cow/day Std Kale LI Kale Std FB LI FB
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 14.5kg pasture + 4 kg inshed 17.5 kg DM pasture + 1 kg inshed 16 kg DM pasture + 2.5kg FB 17.5 kg DM pasture + 1 kg FB

Key Decisions: this week

  • What a wild week it has been with the Hub hammered with snow, sleet and strong, bitterly cold winds. Then suddenly, just like that, we got a beautiful warm day on Thursday! It’s hard keeping up in spring time!
  • As planned last week we increased baleage to all herds during the storm to account for decreased pasture utilisation and increased energy requirements; the Std kale continued to get their inshed feeding and the Std FB their lifted bulbs.
  • On Tuesday we made the decision to skip the afternoon milking for the benefit of stock, pasture damage and staff. In hindsight we could have used our springer paddocks, that have regrown since grazing early in calving, to save damaging our milker pdks; This strategy will be implemented if necessary this Sunday and early next week with predicted high rainfall totals.
  • The weigh, Cu supplementation and stature measurements on the R2’s was postponed due to the snow and has been rescheduled for next week.
  • Std herds will remain on a 22-day rotation and LI herds on a 33-day rotation for this week.
  • With all herds now grazing second rotation pastures and pre-graze masses between 2500 and 2700 supplementary feeding has been revised. All herds have a target intake of 18.5 – 19 kg DM/cow. To achieve this we require different amounts of supplement across the herds due to differences in stocking rate
    • Std kale – 4 kg DM/cow/day barley/pke blend
    • LI kale – 1 kg DM/cow/day barley/pke blend
    • Std FB – 2.5 kg DM/cow/day lifted FB plus 1 bale baleage/day
    • LI FB – 1 kg DM/cow/day lifted FB   
  • Additional baleage will be offered to all herds as required to ensure they are fully fed but still achieving manageable residuals during inclement weather
  • To get the remainder of the springer paddocks grazed the colostrum mob will graze the LI Kale springer paddock (Figure 1) but will not be forced to graze to 1600 residuals. Following grazing the paddock will be allowed to freshen up before being mown and baled in preparation for spraying out for winter crop establishment

Figure 1: pasture in one of 2 springer paddocks remaining


  • The mixed springer mob will be moved to the LI FB springer paddock. Any pasture remaining in this paddock once calving is finished will be baled for winter supplement next year.
  • All fodder beet dries are now off crop in the springer mob
  • Milk samples from the next few cows that get mastitis with be cultured to determine the bacteria we are dealing with and the best approach for treatment
  • The remaining fodder beet will be lifted and sold as soon as conditions allow and a buyer is found – there is approximately 2.5 ha of beet remaining and it is just starting to bolt (Figure 2)

Figure 2: Remaining fodder beet starting to bolt

General Notes:

  • The calving rate has differed between the herds again this season with the LI FB getting of to a quick start and the LI Kale herd lagging behind from early September. The Std Kale herd have just had a run of calves so now have the highest percent calved (Figure 3)

Figure 3: Spring 2020 calving rate


  • All herds have had a better start to the season this year compared with last (Figure 4). In both years the LI FB herd has outproduced the LI Kale herd early in the season so it will be interesting to see if the LI FB herd can maintain that advantage this year or whether their performance tapers off earlier like we saw last season.

Figure 4: Cumulative milksolids/ha comparison for the 2020-21 and 2019-20 seasons


  • Average pasture cover for all herds is at or above the planned cover from the spring rotation planner (Figure 5), however if the remaining springer paddocks in the LI farmlets are removed the APC drops by approximately 70 kg DM/ha

Figure 5: Spring rotation planner average pasture cover graphs

Animal Health

  • We are continuing to pick up mastitis cows with four cows identified this week (x1 green, x1 blue, x2 pink). Following last weeks herd test a group of high SCC cows were stripped. Many of them were not showing clinical signs of mastitis but the RMT indicated a potential sub clinical infection.
  • One Std FB cow was died from milk fever during the snow event. She had already been treated for milk fever twice before the storm came through.
  • All calves have been dehorned and had tissue samples taken for parentage confirmation

People Management and Visitors

  • This week we hosted our spring farmer reference group and had lots of great discussion on:
    • remedial options for areas pugged during the recent storm (Figure 6)
    • crop establishment methods including the possibility of setting up a conventional cultivation, direct drilling and strip tillage comparison in a fodder beet paddock and a conventional cultivation vs direct drilling comparison in a kale paddock
    • options for the ungrazed springer paddocks
    • implications of Essential Fresh Water for SDH

The SDH team really value the input, insights and feedback we get from regional farmers at these meetings and they help keep the research done at SDH grounded

Figure 6: Farmer reference group discussing remedial options for pugged areas in paddocks

Research on-farm

  • This week Nicole S Hammond started her Masters study at SDH looking the performance of paddocks in the Forage Value Index validation trial.
  • The team are busy summarising results of recent research in preparation for the field day next week.

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: