2017/18 Season HUB Weekly Farm Update as at 24th April 2018

Hub cows BCS average down 0.1 to 4.5

Week ending 24th April 2018

Table 1: Key Numbers week ending 24th April 2018

Av. Pasture Cover 2486 kg DM/ha
Round Length 42 days
Pasture Growth rate 33 kg DM/day
Soil temp 9.5 C
Rainfall 36mm
No. of cows milking 641 cows
Av. Supplement used (milkers) 0.250 kg DM/cow/day
Av. Kg MS/cow/day 1.25 kg MS/cow/day
Av. Kg MS/ha 3.1 kg MS/ha
Milking frequency OAD

Week summary:

  • Decision made to shift to OAD milking.
  • Last week’s BCS showed the herd average has dropped from 4.6 to 4.5.The target set is to have the 2nd calvers at a minimum of BCS 5 at the end of May and m/a cows at a minimum BCS 4.5. Currently 31% of our R3’s are BCS 4 and below. As we are unable to draft out lighter cows and treat differently to the rest we are required to put all herds on OAD.
  • 250 gms/cow/milking concentrate offered in-shed to all cows, 1.5kg/cow/milking to all cows at or below BCS 4

Finish remaining Hub silage stack. Next season we switch to baleage only as this is easier to manage on a farmlet level. The silage on farm this season was made over the entire property last autumn.

Critical Targets this week

  • Manage transition from milking 3in2 to OAD
  • Cull MT cows producing less than 1kgMS/day

Herd & Production

  • Four herds split evenly on age, BW / PW and on the winter crop trial treatment groups 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).
  • Staph Aureus has been identified in approximately 40 cows at The Hub. A high bulk SCC and cows not reacting quickly to treatment encouraged investigation leading to this diagnosis.
  • Infected cows have drafted out and are being milked last to prevent the spread of this infection.

Table 2: Herd & Production

Herds on Milking Platform Unit Value
Milkers - 3 in 2 cows
Milkers - OAD cows 641
Colostrum cows 0
Springers cows 0
Sick mob cows 4
Culls / deaths cows 0
Current Stocking Rate (platform; not counting R1’s) cows/ha 2.6
Production (to the factory) (28/02/18)
Total Milksolids (YTD) kgMS 242,784
Total Milksolids (MTD) kgMS 16,407
Total Milksolids (last 7 days) kgMS 4,545
Average per cow daily production (last 7 days) kgMS/cow/day 1.25
Per ha production (last 7 days) kgMS/ha 3.1
Other (to the factory)
Protein:Fat Ratio (7-day avg.) % 0.81
Milk Urea (7-day avg.) mg/dl 32.1
SCC (7-day avg.) cells/ml 139,000
Fat Evaluation Index (FEI) A
Fonterra 17/18 Forecast $/kgMS $6.55

Milking frequency

Cow BCS has dropped across the herd from 4.6 to 4.5 average and 31% of our R3 year olds are now at or below BCS 4 despite extra feeding in the shed and the 3in2 milking regime. This means under the same management we will not hit our targets set around BCS at the end of the season, therefore we are required to put everything onto OAD.

Feed Management

  • The four herds are to remain on their allocated farmlets always. The 2017/18 season aim is to feed all cows in a similar manner all season. Any differences to be recorded. 
  • Decision rules for Cows of BCS 4 or less are that they can be fed extra supplement in the shed as required by the farm team and be milked OAD but will remain in their allocated herds for research purposes.
  • The concentrate in the shed is a 50:50 mix of PKE and barley.

Table 3: Feed Offered

Milkers – Pasture offered kgDM/cow/day 13
Milkers - Fodder Beet kgDM/cow/day 0
Milkers - Pasture Silage kgDM/cow/day 4
Milkers - Concentrates – 3 in 2 Cows (shed) kgDM/cow/day 0.250
Milkers - Concentrates – 3 in 2 Cows (pdk) kgDM/cow/day 0
Milkers - Concentrates - OAD Cows kgDM/cow/day 0
  • Cows each offered in-shed 250gm concentrate (50/50 PKE: Barley)
  • PKE/Barley mix offered lifted from 1kg/cow/milking to 1.5kg/cow/day to all cows at BCS 4 or below.

Crop feeding

Fodder beet will be fed late season as a supplement for milkers in the fodder beet herds only.

This will allow the farm team to:

  • Replace the silage supplement to these herds
  • Start transition onto beet before winter
  • Open up crop paddocks before dry off

Land, Pasture, Crop & Silage Management

  • Total area is 327ha(eff), 32.5ha(eff) young stock block and 294ha(eff) platform. Winter crop is grown on both blocks for all stock.
  • Crop rotation is two years in crop then re-grass. PGG Wrightson grass cultivars used are Rely, Platform and Excess, all diploids.
  • Where target residuals are missed, topping after grazing is the tool the farm team use as needed.

Table 4: Land, Pasture, Crop & Silage Metrics

Pre - Graze cover target kgDM/ha 3250
Post - Graze cover target kgDM/ha 1600
Average Pasture Cover (avg. over 4 farmlets) kgDM/ha 2486
Growth Rate (avg. over 4 farmlets) kgDM/ha/day 33
Rotation Length (avg. over 4 farmlets) days 42
Area Available for grazing (milkers) ha 252
Regrassing Area (out of rotation) ha 0
Baleage/Silage Area (out of rotation) ha 0
Crop Area (out of rotation) ha 49.6
Aeration Area ha 0.0
Total platform effective ha 300
Young Stock (not included in rotation) ha 29.0

Pasture management

  • Growth rate measured at 33kg DM/ha/day which matches with average pasture cover (APC) falling.

Crop management

  • No crop agronomy management required

Table 5: Nitrogen use on Farm

Nitrogen (Urea only)(last 7 days) Unit
Area (Winter crop) ha
Rate kg/N/ha
Fertiliser (last 7 days) Unit
Area ha 0
Rate kg/ha 0
Climate conditions
Rainfall (total last 7 days) mm 9.5
Soil Temp (7-day average) @10am °C 36


  • Application of effluent occurs most days (as conditions allow) with the aim to keep the pond at or below 15% full for the autumn. This is effectively as low as the pond can be pumped and is the % full measured at this point.

Table 6: Reproduction Metrics

Planned start of Mating (PSM) Target Actual Unit
Mixed Aged Cows 29-Oct-17 Date
2016 Born Heifers 21-Oct-17 Date
Calving spread
3 weeks 64 %
6 weeks 83 %
9 weeks 97 %
3 week Submission Rate 90 91 %
6 week in-calf rate 78 79 %
Empty Rate 10 7-11 %

Research Update (fortnightly)

No update this week

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 guy.michaels@southerndairyhub.co.nz

For more information check out the DairyNZ link: