2018/19 Season HUB Weekly Farm Update as at 20th September 2018

General Farm Information

Table 1: Key Numbers 20th September

Milking Platform average
Soil temp (C) 9.1
Rainfall (mls) 18.8
Av. Pasture Cover (kg DM/ha) 2185 (c-dax)
2177 (plate meter)
Pasture Growth rate (kg DM/ha/day) 41 – plate
47 – c-dax
SRP for next week 2.2 ha/day
No. of cows milking 643
Av. Kg MS/cow/day 1.8
Average milk fat (%) 4.7
Average milk prot (%) 3.65
Average SCC 108,000
Milker Intake Target (kg DM/cow) 17.5 kg DM total
Colostrum Intake Target (kg DM/cow) 14.5 kg DM pasture
Springer Intake Target (kg DM/cow) 10 kg total (baleage, hay & pasture

Table 2: Animal Summary by farmlet

Std Kale LI Kale Std FB LI FB Units
Pink Blue Green Yellow
Animal Summary
Milkers – TAD 153 144 150 134 cows
Colostrum 15 6 10 11 cows
Colostrum/sick 15 6 10 11 cows
Staph 3 9 6 3
Springers 21 cows
Dries on crop/baleage 39 cows
% of heifer replacements selected 100% 100% 100% 100%

Table 3: Feed Summary by farmlet

Std Kale LI Kale Std FB LI FB Units
Pink Blue Green Yellow
Paste Summary
Average pasture cover (platemeter) 2153 2205 2230 2115 kg DM
Average pasture cover (C-Dax) 2132 2191 2210 2205
Growth Rate (plate meter) 38 47 40 39 kgDM/d
Growth Rate (c-dax) 51 50 55 31
Area grazed (season to date) 57.1 54.6 51.6 54.5 ha
Target rotation length 34 33 33 32 days
Target milker intake for this week 21-28 September
Pasture 13 13.4 15.5 12.9 kg DM/cow
PKE:Barley Blend 2.2 2.2 kg DM/cow
Fodder beet 2.0 2.9
Baleage 2.4 1.6 1.7
Total DMI 17.6 17.2 17.5 17.5

Key Decisions: this week

  • N will continue to be applied to all Std FB and kale paddocks this week at a rate of 30 kg N/h following grazing. Only the low impact farmlets that have not already received N will have an application of 25 kg N/ha.
  • With increased soil temperature and pasture growth rate, the rotation length will be decreased to between 30 and 35 days. This will allow paddock grazing to decrease to 1.5 – 2.0 days/paddock, reducing time spent grazing a paddock and back grazing of valuable regrowth.
  • Determine target weaning weights for individual calves using liveweight breeding values and the proportion of jersey and friesian.
  • All cows calved before 7th September will be metrichecked
  • Material for the new cattle yards will be arriving

General Notes:

  • Plate metering of the farm has continued this week so that a full comparison between the plate and c-dax can be completed to allow us to determine the method of estimation that provides the most robust information for decision making. Currently the plate meter is providing estimates of mass that more closely align with visual estimates, cow behaviour and days since grazing. With 104 paddocks and four herds it is important that we are making the right decisions around feed allocation and the farm walk information is critical for this. The ranking of paddocks from highest to lowest in the feedwedge is not always aligning well between the methods.
  • Supplement and pasture quality has been tested this week. We have observed that the baleage quality has been variable with some bales being drier and possibly of lower quality. Utilisation has been variable.
  • As we approach balance date and the potential for surplus, we will be noting any paddocks that do not hit residual in this round.  Options for these paddocks in the next rotation are:
    • stepped over and shut for conservation if in surplus
    • grazed earlier to reset the residual
    • topped post grazing

Animal Health

  • From the fortnightly herd tests, cows of high SCC (>200 000) will continue to be sampled and sent to Hamilton for culturing to determine if an infection is present and if so what bacteria
  • 1 fodder beet cow died from milk fever in the springer mob this week
  • 3 x std kale and 3x std FB cows with similar calving dates will be selected for liver biopsies to check trace element status

People Management

Research on-farm

  • Paperwork is being completed to get a supplier number for each vat so we can complete more detailed milk composition analysis on herd level milk i.e. Std and LI fodder beet herds will be milked into one vat and the kale cows into the second vat

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 guy.michaels@southerndairyhub.co.nz

For more information check out the DairyNZ link:

https://www.dairynz.co.nz/about-us/research/research-farms/southern-dairy-hub/