2018/19 Season HUB Weekly Farm Update as at 23rd May 2019

Table 1: Farmlet feed wedges and general information

*The blue dashed line is the target line without supplementary feeding

*If you are struggling to view the tables and wedges you can download the pdf here

General Farm Information

Table 2: Key Numbers 23rd May 2019

Kale Fodder beet
Soil temp (C) 7.9
Rainfall (mm) 11.6
Milker Intake Target (kg DM/cow) 12 during dry off, increasing to 14-15 on crop
Av. Kg MS/cow/day 0.99 (- 0.1) 0.92 (- 0.05)
Average milk fat (%) 6.70 (+ 0.28) 6.72 (+ 0.23)
Average milk prot (%) 5.13 (+ 0.09) 5.21 (+ 0.12)
Average SCC (cells/ml) 203 (- 17) 250 (+ 31)
Animal Summary Std Kale LI Kale Std FB LI FB
Pink Blue Green Yellow
Dries 148 145 159 134
Culls to go 2 1 4 2

Key Decisions: this week

  • Charlie and the farm team did a great job minimising pasture damage last week. Their success was made by constantly monitoring the cows and condition of the paddocks and using this to then determine whether to shift them on or not.
  • All farmlet cows were dried off this week with the help of vet techs. The decision was based on cow condition and 31st May average pasture cover targets. The 31st May APC targets set were 2000 kg DM/ha for the Std. and 2100kg DM/ha for the LI farmlets. We are close to the targets but not quite there. However, with a week till the end of the month and pasture growth looking OK, the LI should reach their target. The returning R2 heifers will require pasture for a couple of days before they start transitioning onto crop so will graze one paddock in each of the Std Kale and Std FB farmlets with the aim of having them at 2000 kg DM/ha at the end of next week.
  • To minimise the use of antibiotics the following criteria were used to determine the dry off treatment for each cow
    • Cows with SCC below 120000 on all herd tests – Teat seal only; except if they had any of the following during the season: cultured staph aureus, clinical mastitis or currently have long floppy udders or cracked teats
    • Cows with SCC above 120000 at any herd test – Combination therapy with teat seal

Table 3: Breakdown of DCT by herd

% of herd Std Kale LI Kale Std FB LI FB
Teat Seal only 37 30 20 30
Combination Therapy 59 63 75 64
Antibiotics only 4 7 5 6

Figure 1: Vet Techs doing dry cow and teat sealing


  • All dry cows are now in crop transition mode and this will be the key focus over the next few weeks. At dry off they were fed a total of 12kg DM/cow/day over 2 days; for the FB farmlets this included 4kg FB along with hay, baleage and pasture.
  • Currently the FB cows are on 4kg FB and the kale cows will start on 5kg kale (increasing by 1kg kale/day up to 11kg) along with baleage. FB allocation will be increased at 1 kg DM every second day to their final allocation of 10.5 kg DM/cow.
  • Total DM allocation once transitioned will be 14-15kg DM/cow/day with the aim of the cows consuming 140 MJ ME to achieve an average 0.6 BCS gain over winter
  • The Winter Crop Allocation Calculator https://www.dairynz.co.nz/feed/crops/ has been used to determine the DM allocations assuming 95% FB utilisation and 80% Kale utilisation. Having 95% FB utilisation does appear high but these numbers are based on residual crop measurements taken from FB and kale paddocks monthly last winter.

Figure 2: The FB cows enjoying their break for the day

General Notes:

  • This week x30 R2s were purchased to achieve 23% replacements in each herd following the culling of the confirmed Johnes cows last week. They will arrive on farm next week and be quarantined to their own paddocks for 7 days. An M.bovis declaration has been completed to ensure the correct preventative steps have been taken to minimise the risk to the farm; you can read more about the M.bovis pre-purchase checklist here: https://www.dairynz.co.nz/media/5787884/myco-bovis-pre-purchase-checklist-aug-2017.pdf.
  • The pregnancy scan results last week identified an additional 4 empties: x2 Std. Kale, x1 Std. FB, x1 LI FB.
  • R2 heifers have been booked for teat sealing when they return from the grazier on the 30th May. They will have pre-winter blood samples taken, be weighed and measured as part of the research monitoring as well as being tagged, collared and given lepto shots.
  • The kale calves were bled, weighed and measured this week; averaging 210kg with an average daily gain of 0.9kg/day. The kale calves also received their lepto shots. FB calves are well through their transitioning onto crop and will receive their lepto shot in the next week.

Animal Health

  • A contingency plan is being developed for the winter management of any lame or sick cows that need to come off crop. We need to ensure that how we manage any animals pulled off crop doesn’t have a negative impact on any individual farm system and the average pasture cover.

People Management and Visitors

  • We welcome Christine as a casual Research Tech in the DairyNZ team working at the hub. We also welcome Robyn, who has been working with the farm team, over to a casual role as a Research Tech as well.

Research on-farm

  • We are currently working on the experimental plans for the research next season as well as preparing for the wintering monitoring on the R1’s as part of a Lincoln University Honours project
  • An opportunity has arisen to complete the behaviour monitoring on these animals over a longer period and investigate the effect of internal parasites on grazing behaviour as part of another Lincoln University
  • The team are preparing for our virtual tour of SDH and explanation of the research at the SIDE conference on the 25 and 26th June

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 richard.kyte@southerndairyhub.co.nz

For more information check out the DairyNZ link: