2018/19 Season HUB Weekly Farm Update as at 21st February 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 21st February 2019

Kale Fodder beet
Soil temp (C) 15.2
Rainfall (mm) 14.2
Milker Intake Target (kg DM/cow) 16.0
Av. Kg MS/cow/day 1.4 (-) 1.3 (- 0.1)
Average milk fat (%) 5.03 (+) 5.14 (+)
Average milk prot (%) 4.09 (+) 4.09 (-)
Average SCC (cells/ml) 166 (-) 142 (-)
Animal Summary Std Kale LI Kale Std FB LI FB
Pink Blue Green Yellow
Milkers – TAD 179 160 165 146
Milkers – OAD 9 7 19 9
Other/Penos 1 4 3 2

Key Decisions: this week

  • This week the cows struggled to hit residuals indicating that there was an over allocation of feed. From this conclusion, the per cow allocation will be dropped from 16.5 kg DM/cow/day to 16 kg DM/cow/day, therefore dropping the target line on the feed wedge to 2900 kg DM/ha for the Std farmlets and 2800 kg DM/ha on the LI farmlets.
  • More paddocks will be conserved this week with x1 paddock from the Std. Kale, x2 from Std. FB, and x1 from the LI kale. This will help maintain the paddocks at our target pre-grazing covers and prevent them from getting too high and therefore loosing quality and affecting our grazing rotation and time spent in/ returning to paddocks.
  • The LI FM farmlet is in a different situation to the other farmlets and will be requiring supplement going forward. X1 bale of baleage/paddock will be allocated, which is equivalent to 1.5kg DM/cow/36 hours. The reasoning for the LI FB cows being in deficit can be attributed to having one less paddock compared to the other farmlets. The decision to add supplement was made due to a drop in milk production this week and 7% of the herd scored at <BCS 4.

General Notes:

  • We had a great day at the SDH field day this week. With some very interesting topics including N leaching progress from the 2018 winter, farm systems implementation, and soil mineral N results from the crop N applications. Exciting to see the potential fertiliser savings that could be made by knowing what our soil mineral N levels are before applying fertiliser! If you couldn’t make the day, keep an eye out for our handout that will be posted on the website soon.


Figure 1: Dr Dawn Dalley (DairyNZ) talking at the SDH field day this week

  • 25 kg N/ha will start being applied to all paddocks in the Std Kale, Std FB and LI FB farmlets next week. The LI Kale final application has been delayed at this stage as their feed wedge and rotation length are on target. In contrast the LI FB pre-graze mass is below target so the N will be used to increase growth and help hold and then extend the rotation to 35 days. 
  • Cows were BCS this week. It was noted that 7% of the LI FB cows were at BCS <4. This has contributed to the decision to add supplements into their diet this week as, along with below target residuals, they are in a deficit compared to the other farmlets.

Table 3: BCS result and MA cow’s 6 week ICR

Std Kale LI Kale Std FB LI FB
BCS 4.4 4.4 4.3 4.4
% less than BCS 4 3% 3% 6% 7%
  • Yellowing and leaf damage in the 1st year fodder beet crops was noticed last week. It is the result of ‘Yellow Beet Virus’ caused by aphids. These crops were looking much better than the 2nd year crop paddocks until the 2 weeks ago. Given the challenging start for some paddocks we are looking at options to maximise the chances of good yields.

Figure 2: Yellow leaf virus which has caused yellowing and leaf damage in the first year fodder beet paddock


  • Last week more paddocks were conserved for baleage. You can see in the table below the area and number of bales made for the season from each farmlet.

Table 4: Area mown and bales made on each farmlet for the season

Std Kale LI Kale Std FB LI FB
Area Conserved (ha) 35 20.3 34.4 23.7
Area Topped (ha) 23.2 33.9 32.9 37.8
No of bales made 168 123 173 167
Total area mown (ha) 57.2 54.2 63.7 61.5
Total % farm mown season to date 89 85 96 100

Animal Health

  • Calves were weighed and drenched last week. Results will be reported next week. Calves in the action group in MINDA weights continue to receive 2 kg calf meal/day.
  • x2 cow deaths this week due to twisted guts
  • The vet was called out for a potential laminitis case and a cow with an abscess
  • One cow was tested for Johnes

People Management and Visitors

  • Staff underwent PITO training this week
  • Next week there will be an SDRF Board meeting, followed by a meeting with the RAC (research advisory committee)

Research on-farm

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 ProposalsThe 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/