2020/21 Season HUB Weekly Farm Update as at 20th May 2021

Table 1: Farmlet feed wedges and general information

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

NB: Hatched bars are 2021 springer paddocks.

Table 1: Key Herd Numbers 20/05/2021 – number of cows in each mob

DATE: 20 May 2021 Std Kale LI Kale Std FB LI FB Total
Current being milked 110 83 124 113 430
Sick/penos 1 0 4 2 7
Dries 48 52 29 19 148
Autumn culls 36 29 39 30 134

Table 2: Key Weather and Feeding Numbers 20/5/2021

Soil temp (C) 7.2
Rainfall (mm) 84.2
Allocations Kg DM/cow/day Std Kale LI Kale Std FB LI FB
Milkers 14.0 kg DM pasture
Inshed feeding = 3 kg DM/cow/day
Baleage as required
15.0 kg DM pasture
Inshed feeding = 2 kg DM/cow/day
Baleage as required
14.0 kg DM pasture
3 kg DM fodder beet plus
Baleage as required
13.0 kg DM pasture
3 kg DM fodder beet plus
Baleage as required

Key Decisions: this week

  • The count down to the finish of the 2020-21 season is on with less than 7 days to go!!
  • Paddock grazing decisions this week centred around setting the farm up for next lactation. Given the range of soil types across the farm we have planned for higher mass paddocks on the upper terrace in spring. This requires grazing paddocks on the flats this week where we can. 160ml of rain over the last 2 weeks has resulted in very sodden soils and some surface flooding so the paddock grazing order is flexible and will be assessed daily by the farm team.
  • To minimise feeding out on the wet paddocks we have been prepared to speed up the rotation where necessary for the last few days but still focusing on achieving a good residual.
  • Inshed feeding levels and fodder beet to milkers will remain the same until dry off.
  • Kale herds will be dried off on the 25th and Fodder beet on the 26th. Thankfully the weather is looking a little more settled next week with much less rain in the forecast.
  • Following dry off the herds will be split into their wintering mobs and then head for their crop paddock. For each farmlet there will be a mob of better BCS cows and one with R2’s and lighter MA cows.
  • Cows dried off next week will be tail painted for easy identification in the paddock and checking of udders when being moved each morning.
  • The dry off diet will be approx. 3 kg DM each of crop, pasture baleage, oaten baleage and hay for the first 4 days after which the crop allocation will be slowly increased as per recommended practice and the hay and oaten baleage removed from the diet. It is expected transitioning to full allocations will take at least 7 days for the kale mobs and 14 days for the fodder beet mobs
  • Blood tests taken from the R1’s early this week have come back low in selenium so they will receive 5ml of a long acting selenium as soon as practical. They will also get a top up copper bolus at the same time.
  • The decision was made that for any cows dried off by the team will receive combination treatment i.e. dry cow therapy and teat seal after two teat seal only animals have developed bad mastitis following drying off.
  • Given everything that is going on next week we are going to skip the farmwalk and instead concentrate on making sure everything is sorted for transitioning cows onto crop. The final farmwalk for the season will be done on the 2nd June.

General Notes:

  • Soil temperature dropped to 7 °C this week and with 84 mm of rainfall grazing conditions have been challenging. However, May weather conditions have not been a surprise as it is pretty normal for there to be a period of high rainfall just as we get to the end of the season.

Figure 1: cumulative rainfall and soil temperature season to date


  • Kale and fodder beet R2’s and all dry cows are now on crop so only the milkers are grazing pasture. While the updated feed budgets show our APC being below the plan we were prepared to drop to 1900 to ensure good quality pasture next season. We have a buffer in the spring supplement budget to accommodate the lower APC if it eventuates. The farm walk this week was done in very wet conditions with plate readings coming in lower than visual assessments so we are pretty confident APC will be around 1850-1950 come 1 June.

Figure 2:  Autumn feed budget against the original plan


  • Milk production has continued to bounce around this week especially during the very wet periods where pasture utilisation was challenging.

Figure 3: kg MS/cow/day from farmlet comparison

Figure 4: Weekly average milksolids production for each farmlet (kg MS/cow/day)

Figure 5: Weekly average milksolids production for each farmlet (kg MS/cow/day)


  • The heifers had their first introduction to the rotary platform. Their tails were trimmed and they were all body condition scored while they were on there.

Figure 6: Heifers starting their training to the rotary platform

Animal Health

  • Dusting of DCP continues on the new pasture breaks to FB herds and to dried off cows on their baleage. Our loose fodder beet minerals have arrived and are being fed to the dry mixed age cows as well.

People Management and Visitors

Research on-farm

  • Our research last winter has provided some practical indicators for when weather and soil conditions start to impact on animal behaviour, especially lying time.

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: