2020/21 Season HUB Weekly Farm Update as at 21st January 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

Table 1: Key Herd Numbers 21/1/2021 – percentage of the herd in each mob

DATE: 21st Jan 2021 Std Kale LI Kale Std FB LI FB Total
Current being milked 195 162 193 162 713
Milking TAD into vat 159 132 152 142 585
Milking OAD into vat 34 26 38 20 118
Sick/penos 2 4 3 6 15

Table 2: Key Weather and Feeding Numbers 21/1/2021

Soil temp (C) 18.2
Rainfall (mm) 35
Allocations Kg DM/cow/day Std Kale LI Kale Std FB LI FB
Milkers 16.8 kg DM pasture
Priority in-shed feed for light cows = 4 kg DM equiv 1.2 kg DM 
all cows in herd
17 kg DM pasture
Priority in-shed feed for light cows = 4 kg DM equiv 1 kg DM 
all cows in herd
16.8 kg DM pasture
Priority in-shed feed for light cows = 4 kg DM equiv 1.2 kg DM 
all cows in herd
16 kg DM pasture
Priority in-shed feed for light cows = 4 kg DM equiv 1 kg DM 
all cows in herd

Key Decisions: this week

  • Last week, because of 30oC days, we were installing troughs and sprinklers onto the yard; this week we have an average of 12oC, pouring rain and a cold wind! It really has been a funny summer at SDH, however grass continues to grow and staying on top of residuals and quality remains a high priority.
  • We fed out baleage to the Std kale and LI FB the last 2 days due to wet paddock conditions and one paddock having shorter cover than expected. This week we will continue with no supplements except to our BCS management cows, but stepped over baleage paddocks will be brought back into the rotation if required rather the feeding out baleage.
  • Light FB cows are now transitioned over to straight PKE in-shed feeding from the original Barley:PKE:DDG mix.
  • Our wedges above suggest that we are tight for feed but cow behaviour and milk production would suggestion there is more pasture in the paddock than what is being plated. The heavy rain would also be altering the readings due to the grass lodging in the wind and compressing more and therefore plating lower.
  • Two paddocks from the Std. Kale and Std. FB & one from the LI Kale were topped last week to clean up residuals and for weed control in a new grass paddock.
  • Each mowing or topping event can delay the time at which pasture recovers and begins to regrow again and we take this into consideration when assessing the pasture wedges and next paddocks to be grazed in the rotation.
  • Round five of N fertiliser is now complete and N fertiliser will not be applied again until February.
  • Most of the kale crop paddocks have reached canopy closure and have received a round of N fertiliser – 45 kg N/ha as N protect. The rest of the crops will be done in the next week. We continue to battle with ducks in young kale crop paddocks but once full canopy closure is achieved this should stop.
  • With most of our baleage requirements met we will be drawing up a winter grazing plan and identifying where our baleage will be placed out.

General Notes:

  • Baleage was cut from each farmlet and this can be seen in the figure below: x58 bales from the Std Kale, x31 bales from the LI Kale, x56 bales from the Std. FB and x35 bales from the LI FB. The area of which the bales were made is also shown.

Figure 1: Baleage made on farm this week and area cut


  • Based off BCS we had a reshuffle of cows in the BCS management groups this week. A total of X27 cows went off OAD back to TAD and x23 went onto OAD. The BCS data indicated that the LI Kale and Std. FB have decreased their % of cows <BCS 4, whilst the Std. Kale and LI FB have increased. The LI Kale have the fewest cows below BCS 4 and the Std. Kale have the highest number of cows sitting on the lighter end. Overall, the farmlets had BCS average of 4.1 except for the LI FB with BCS 4.2.

Figure 2: BCS spread for each farmlet


  • The cows were scanned this week giving us a 5 week pregnancy result rather than 6 weeks (scanning date was calculated from the heifer PSM date not the cows (25th Oct rather than the 1st Nov)!  We had a 69% 5-week in-calf scan. The Std. FB pregnancy results reflect their submission rate. Through pregnancy test analysis on a total of 92 cows from the herd test this week we will calculate 6 week in calf rate.

Figure 3: 5 week scanned incalf %


  • Production from our LI FB farmlet continues to track below the other farmlets the other farmlets despite similar pre-graze pasture covers to the LI Kale and same decision rules around conservation, topping and supplementary feed. This week wet conditions and poorer pasture utilisation on farm have impacted milk production on all farmlets which has hovered around 1.7kg MS/cow/day. Season to date (STD) production is still ahead of last year on a daily basis.

Figure 4: Milk production (kg MS/cow/day) comparison for each farmlet


  • 122 R1s went away to grazing last week. We kept back 99 of the smaller calves so we can continue to manage and priority feed with PKE. This week the priority calves were weighed, drenched, given Cu bolus and Se jabbed.
  • The majority of the bulls have now left the farm with just two remaining due to lameness.

Animal Health

  • Mastitis has increased this week with x7 cows, all with front right quarters infected being detected. We will be doing a shed check and keeping a close eye in-case there is another split liner causing this.
  • We have one photosensitive cow that has been put into the sick mob and being treated with zinc filter back.
  • With the wet week we have decided to put out our Copper Sulphate mats in the entrance to the platform to help with hoof management. The paddocks have been hard but are starting to soften up as rain continues and laneways are not getting a chance to dry out.

People Management and Visitors

  • We would like to give a warm welcome to Natasha Lundin, our new SDH Senior Research Technician. Natasha has a strong research background in chemistry and we feel her analytical expertise and data management experience will be of high value in the role as a tech. She has been calf rearing just out of Invercargill this season and is looking forward to combining her love of working with animals with her science skills.
  • The farm team has started implementing LEAN management principles again to ensure the correct procedures are followed and efficiencies maximised on farm. You can read more about LEAN management and FarmTune here: FarmTune® – DairyNZ

Research on-farm

  • Our summer N intake sampling was completed last week. This involved the normal monthly feed quality sampling and pre and post plating of paddocks grazed but also includes blood, urine, faeces and milk samples being collected for N determination from 20-25 cows in each herd during a morning and afternoon milking.
  • The first round of pasture quality results from some designated monitor paddocks sampled from late November are in, these are summarised below with crude protein (CP), fibre (NDF), and metabolizable energy (ME). We will continue to monitor these paddocks at each grazing to help us understand and explain differences in farmlet milk and stock performance.

Table 3: Pasture quality summary for monitor paddocks at SDH.

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: