2021/22 Season HUB Weekly Farm Update as at 22nd July 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

NOTE: Hatched paddocks are springer paddocks

Table 1: Key Herd Numbers 22/07/2021 – number of cows in each mob

DATE: 22 July 2021 Std Kale LI Kale Std FB LI FB Total
Current being milked 1 1 0 1
Dries 201 167 201 166 735
Slips 2 1 2 1 5

Table 2: Key Weather and Feeding Numbers 22/07/2021

Soil temp (C) 7.7
Rainfall (mm) 11.6
Allocations Kg DM/cow/day Std Kale LI Kale Std FB LI FB
Milkers Kale 10.8-11.8 kg DM/cow

Baleage 4.4–3.3 kg DM/cow
Kale 11.8 kg DM/cow

Baleage 3.3 kg DM/cow
Beet 9-10 kg DM/cow

Baleage 4.2–3.3 kg DM/cow
Beet 9.8 kg DM/cow

Baleage 3.3 kg DM/cow
Springers 5 kg grass and 5 kg hay (20 m2)
Milkers 9 kg grass and 5 kg baleage (100 m2)

Key Decisions: this week

  • We springer drafted, body condition scored and put on our new Allflex collars this week. It was a busy few days and took a real team effort, even roping in a few out of the office to help.
  • While numbers are still quite low, we have one springer mob at the moment made up of cows from all farmlets. These are receiving MgO and DCP dusting. After next week we will split the springer mobs into kales and FB and stop dusting the DCP to the kale mob.
  • Our drafting routine will be twice/week for early calvers being drafted into the springer mob and once/week for late calvers to be drafted into early calving mobs.

Figure 1: New Allflex collar

 

  • We had a wee whoopsie with drafting the FB mobs this week and sent the wrong FB herd to the wrong paddock. Instead of the 100 cow mob going to the FB break we sent the 50 cow mob; lucky Roshean was super onto it and we were able to alleviate the situation before any ill effects such as acidosis occurred. It’s important the we stay vigilant at this time of year when mob sizes are changing and moving around.

General Notes:

  • Although we have not had a large deluge of rain, we have had enough drizzly weather and limited drying days to make ground conditions continuously wet on farm.
  • From the pasture walk on the 16th July, our growth rates were sitting between 2-6 kg DM/day and pasture cover ranged from 2093 to 2131 kg DM/ha. The average pasture cover is about 100 kg DM/ha on average lower than this time last season but we are comfortable with this level.
  • Using our spring rotation planner we will be targeting 100m2 for milkers and 20m2 for springer mobs offering milkers 9 kg grass and 5 kg baleage and springers 5 kg grass and 5 kg hay.
  • We currently have 3 cows milking; 2 slips and one live calving. The calf was a beefie and has been rehomed.
  • The herds were body condition scored while we did springer drafts. Overall the herds were averaging BCS 5.14 and showed little change from their June BCS. We will keep an eye on our kale lights as they have slipped in condition a little bit as they begin to eat into more stalky, lower quality kale.
  • This week we will set out more baleage onto crop paddocks. We have delayed setting these bales out as our mob sizes will begin to change as we draft off springers and move cows from the late calving mob to the early calving mob.
  • The farm has had a bit of TLC this week. Lane maintenance has been underway to try and minimise lameness this year and drainage around the calf shed has been done to prevent the reoccurring calf shed puddle.

Figure 2: Calf shed with drainage installed to prevent large puddle forming

 

  • Our calves have been going through some tape fence training this week with a few cheeky breakouts. They have settled down now and hopefully no more escapes going forward.
  • At the support block we will be putting in a catch-crop trial run by Ballance. They are going to broadcast catch-crop seed onto the paddock; it will be interesting to see how well the crop establishes.
  • For ease of management we have removed 2 LI kale paddocks from the trial and given them one of the LI FB paddocks to even up the paddock spread. This will give the farm team access to two more low performing paddocks that are close to the shed and ideal for the lame cow mob etc.

Animal Health

  • By the end of this week all cows would have received their B12 and selenium injections
  • Of the cows that have calved (2 slips and 1 beef calf) one cow had a retained membrane and we are keeping a close eye on this so that it does not develop further.
  • Of the cows Rotavac we noticed a small group of LI FB and LI Kale cows that had swelling around their tail head where the injection went in. It is not a concern but interesting reaction to the injection.

SDH Research/Demonstration

  • The science technician team had an animal N intake week where they collect blood, urine and faeces samples to look at mineral and nitrogen levels. This week they are also finishing crop yielding. From next week they will be back to weekly farm walks again which means our farm management meeting and farm notes will be sent out on a weekly basis again from the 5th August.

Figure 3: Photos of the team doing the animal N sampling.

Communication

  • DairyNZ was on farm videoing a wintering debrief video this week, it highlighted the importance of reflecting on each winter and taking key learnings forward to the following season. Also the importance of including your staff in this debrief and having a clear plan and communication from start to finish.

People

  • It has been a busy week on farm as staff get in a few annual leave days in before the bulk of calving begins. We managed to pull in a few extra helpers to assist with springer drafting and putting on cow collars.

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:

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