2020/21 Season HUB Weekly Farm Update as at 22nd October 2020

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 22/10/2020 – percentage of the herd in each mob

DATE: 22nd Oct 2020 Std Kale LI Kale Std FB LI FB Total
Current Herd Numbers 197 163 197 166 723
Calved milkers 197 161 197 166 721
Springers 0 2 0 0 2

Table 2: Key Weather and Feeding Numbers 22/10/2020

Soil temp (C) 9
Rainfall (mm) 21
Allocations Kg DM/cow/day Std Kale LI Kale Std FB LI FB
Milkers 13.5kg pasture + 5 kg inshed 18.5 kg DM pasture 15 kg DM pasture + 3.5kg FB 17 kg DM pasture + 1.5 kg FB

Key Decisions: this week

  • This week key decisions have included managing surplus grass in the LI farmlets and ensuring we hit target residuals to maintain pasture quality next round which also coincides with mating.
  • We have decided to be more proactive with stepping over paddocks in the LI farmlets and have made baleage from x1 LI kale and FB paddock last week.
  • To continue with management of pasture we have stepped over another x3 LI kale and x2 LI FB paddocks. The supplement has been removed from the LI kale but we have lifted FB available for the LI FB which will not last indefinitely so this will continue to be fed at 1.5 kg DM/day. Obviously, this creates more of a pasture surplus but any extra baleage made now will be available for summer and early autumn milk supplement if required and surplus will be used on crop during winter. All these decisions will be accounted for in the financials for the LI FB farmlet. We will double check our position on the feed wedges prior to mowing the paddocks in case situations have changed.
  • The Std. Kale farmlet has been leaving some inshed supplement in the bins so there allocation will be reduced by 0.5kg to 4.5 kg DM.
  • The Std. FB will continue to receive 3.5kg of FB in the paddock.
  • In preparation for mating in 10 days time we have been implementing the following:
    • Herds have been tail-painted or touched up from metri-checking for pre-mating heats.
    • On Monday we will record the cycling status of every cow, determine who needs CIDRs and insert them on day 3 of mating.
    • On Friday next week all cows will be tail painted into one colour and heat patches applied. The following Friday AB will commence and from there tail paint will continually be touched up.

General Notes:

  • Residuals have been hard to manage in the LI FB with cows returning to paddocks to clean up extending our rotation longer than planned.
  • Baleage was cut at the support block this week. Overall we cut x9 paddocks of baleage at the support block and 2.5 paddocks from the LI farmlets on the milking platform.

Figure 1: Baleage being cut on farm from support block and LI farmlets


  • N fertiliser was applied this week to Std. farmlets via helicopter. It was decided that the paddocks were still too wet for a bulky to get around without creating damage. Application rates were 80kg/ha of ammo (25kg N/ha) excluding any effluent paddocks.
  • Cows have been visually BCS. The BCS is sitting lower than we would like with the average across the farmlets of BCS 4.2, and the Std. Kale the lowest at BCS 4.1. The lower BCS in the Std Kale cows reflects their pasture situation and milk production over the last few weeks. With higher levels of inshed feeding for the last 2 weeks we are expecting to see this trend change in the next few weeks.

Figure 2: Distribution in herd BCS across each farmlet


  • The ground is still too wet on the lower terrace paddocks for regrassing. On the upper terrace we should be able to regrass as soon as the contractors are available.
  • Below show the milk graphs for the week including per cow kg MS comparison and between seasons total daily milk production. The farmlet average is still hovering around 2kg MS/cow/day. From the season to season comparison it is good to see that we are still tracking above the previous season and have maintained a similar gap over the last few months.

Figure 3: Farmlet comparison of kg MS/cow/day each week of season

Figure 4: Total daily kg MS comparison between the seasons


  • More calves were put outside this week. Warm and dry conditions allow for a better transition and the other outside mobs are doing well.

Figure 5: Getting all the jobs completed


  • Our focus continues to be spraying and preparing crop paddocks. All springer paddocks to be used for cropping have been grazed out and ready to be sprayed. We are going to be setting up a FB cropping trial for winter 2021 comparing conventional, strip tillage and direct drill and plans of how we will implement this are being drawn up and put past our Farmer Reference Group.

Animal Health

  • We had herd testing this week with x9 cows with SCC over 1 million.
  • The final round of metri-checking was completed this week. Out of 85 cows checked we had only 5 that need to be metri-cured.
  • There is one cow with a swollen foot that is currently been treated.

People Management and Visitors

  • This week we hosted BCS calibration training on farm. This involves the training and certification of rural professionals and farmers to be BCS assessors out in the field. If you are interested in getting your certification you can apply here: http://web.dairynz.co.nz/dairynzconz-agbsb/pages/hmnddzareeipzaanouetqw.html
  • We plan to revisit our Lean management training on farm to give new and old staff the opportunity to refresh their skill set around the Lean management principles. We will host a farm team meeting and cover off: job and task allocation, milking process and what it entails, tally sheets.

Research on-farm

  • Results are in for the October feed quality samples from SDH and our Participatory Research farms across Southland and South/West Otago. Pasture quality data is summarised in the table below.
Dry Matter Crude protein ME NDF Magnesium Calcium Phosphorus Potassium Sulphur
Dingle - Northern Southland 13.8 29.7 12.2 41.7 0.19 0.51 0.46 3.9 0.38
McLeod - West Otago 16.5 20.5 12.1 40.6 0.19 0.47 0.44 3.6 0.30
Pemberton - Eastern Southland 18.0 21.9 12.4 44.1 0.21 0.43 0.41 2.9 0.29
Wells - Tairei 14.7 23.6 12.1 41.3 0.22 0.69 0.44 3.5 0.40
SDH - Std Kale 18.6 19.3 12.5 43.6 0.20 0.45 0.39 2.8 0.35
SDH - LI Kale 17.5 22.7 12.3 43.3 0.19 0.54 0.39 2.4 0.35
SDH - Std FB 18.0 21.5 12.0 42.6 0.19 0.41 0.37 2.9 0.33
SDH - LI FB 18.2 20.6 12.0 44.2 0.19 0.46 0.35 2.8 0.30

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: