2018/19 Season HUB Weekly Farm Update as at 24th January 2019

Table 1: Farmlet feed wedges and general information

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

General Farm Information

Table 2: Key Numbers 24th January 2019

Kale Fodder beet
Soil temp (C) 22.3
Rainfall (mm) 32
Milker Intake Target (kg DM/cow) 17
Av. Kg MS/cow/day (##incl staph cows) 1.6 1.5
Average milk fat (%) 5.00 5.01
Average milk prot (%) 4.04 4.03
Average SCC (cells/ml) 153 149
Animal Summary Std Kale LI Kale Std FB LI FB
Pink Blue Green Yellow
Milkers – TAD 178 164 163 147
Milkers – OAD 11 6 21 10
Other/Penos 0 1 4 1

Key Decisions: this week

  • Average pasture cover (APC) continues to increase this week with residuals struggling to be hit on some of the LI farmlet paddocks. This supports the decision to start shutting up paddocks for conservation. The LI farmlets will have paddocks shut up this week, whilst the expectation will be to shut up at least x1 paddock early next week in the Std FB farmlet. The Std kale farmlet APC will be reassessed at next weeks meeting to determine whether a surplus is available to conserve.
  • The second round of capital fertiliser will be applied across the farmlets this week in the form of Superphosphate. As seen in the table below, rates are applied according to the Olsen P level in the paddock. Std Farmlets will also receive an application of N at 25kg N/ha as urea incorporated with the superphosphate.

Table 3: Olsen P ranges and Superphosphate application rates on farmlets

Area Olsen P level Superphosphate applied kg/ha Kg P/ha
41.1 ha < 15 615 55
49.1 ha 15-20 500 45
40.5 ha 20-25 390 35
95 ha > 25 330 30

General Notes:

  • Due to poor weather earlier in the week, the kale farmlets received 2kg/cow/day inshed feeding on Monday and Tuesday. There is no longer any supplement going into the system.
  • The kale crop is starting to show small signs of Diamond moth caterpillar attack. With the wet weather this week, the crop will be reassessed next week as conditions warm up again.
  • As discussed last week, soil mineral N samples were taken from the 2019 crop paddocks in mid-October just prior to planting and have come back with some very interesting results.
  • The table below shows that the crop to crop paddocks had significantly lower mineral N than the grass to crop paddocks.
  • Having this information is very useful in determining the amount of N that needs to be applied to crops. With more soil N available in the pasture to crop paddocks the requirement for N fertiliser is lower. This information has been used in determining how much N-protect to apply and amounts can be seen in the table below. 
  • Plant & Food research has demonstrated that applying more than 100kg N/ha has shown no yield benefit to FB, so with the initial base dressing of 50kg N/ha, only 55kg N/ha is required as a side dressing on both 1st and 2nd year crops. The application meets the requirements of the Low Mineral N paddocks. In Kale however the recommendation is to apply more N on Low Mineral N crop paddocks as a yield response can be expected.
  • Of interest was that the N levels were lower in the FB paddocks that were lifted at the end of winter and a paddock that have been already cropped for 2 years. These results illustrate the contribution of dung, urine and supplement N to the soil during the grazing process.


Table 4: Crop mineral N results and N fertiliser side dressings

2019 crop pdk history 2018 crop Comments Pdk No Mineral N Recommended kg N/ha side dressing (Jan) Recommended kg N/ha 2nd crop side dressing (March)
Fodder beet ex pasture 52 159 55
Fodder beet ex pasture 48 124 55
Fodder beet ex pasture 50 157 55
Fodder beet ex crop fodder beet grazed by R1's 6 80 55
Fodder beet ex crop fodder beet grazed by cows 22 90 55
Fodder beet ex crop kale 3rd year crop 98 49 55
Fodder beet ex crop fodder beet most of crop lifted 35 45 55
Kale ex pasture 47 156 50
Kale ex pasture 57 149 50
Kale ex pasture 65 180 50
Kale ex pasture 103 97 69 69
Kale ex crop fodder beet most of crop lifted 9 37 69 69
Kale ex crop fodder beet most of crop lifted 8 36 69 69
Kale ex crop fodder beet grazed by cows 7 79 69 69
Kale ex crop fodder beet grazed by cows 5 84 69 69
  • With 32ml of rain recorded this week, effluent was not applied for 2 days to avoid applying effluent onto saturated soils.
  • This week the MA cows will have their first scan to determine 6-week in calf rate
  • The heifers will be scanned and weighed on 5th February.
  • Herd testing and BCS happened this week. Cow BCS is tracking along well, with the Std FB cows having the largest % of BCS < 4 on OAD milking.
Std Kale LI Kale Std FB LI FB
BCS 4.4 4.4 4.3 4.4
% less than BCS 4  4% 1% 10% 3%
  • Results of the January pasture samples collected for quality are summarised below.
DM% Crude Protein ME NDF
LI FB 15.3 17.7 10.9 44.1
LI Kale 14.2 20.4 12.0 45.2
Std FB 17.6 15.3 10.6 45.8
Std Kale 16.8 19.3 11.6 44.8
  • Differences between farmlets are the result of the proportion of new vs old pastures being grazed during the sampling period. The LI Kale farmlet grazed 2 new grass paddocks and the Std Kale one new grass paddocks. No new grass paddocks in the FB farmlets were in the grazing plan during the measurement period.
  • Paddock ranges for the different components are below.
    • DM% range –13.1 to 18.3%
    • Crude protein – 13.9 to 25.4%
    • ME – 10.5 to 12.4 MJ/kg DM
    • NDF –41.7 to 47.6 %
  • New grass paddocks were:
    • higher in crude protein – 23.6 vs 16.3
    • lower in DM – 14.4 vs 16.5 %
    • higher in ME – 12.2 vs 11.0 %
  • The baleage harvested from the support block is below average for milking cow quality and will be utilised predominantly for winter feeding with crop
    • DM% 31.0%
    • Crude protein – 13.9 %
    • ME – 9.5 MJ/kg DM

Animal Health

  • Of the calves weighed, x24 of the lightest were drafted into a separate mob, given an oral drench (Scanda) for worms and Baycox for potential coccidiosis. The larger calves were also given an oral drench of Matrix. Of the 191 calves, x46 at the runoff and x6 calves at home have been transitioned back onto pellets, building up to 2kg/calf/day.
  • SCC is slightly higher this week with x3 mastitis cows identified and treated. In general (Josh Wheeler, QConz) bulk SCC tends to rise 10-20,000 a month post peak – basically the reverse of the milk production graph.  The rule of thumb is that if you double peak SCC this will be about the SCC you will dry off at under good proactive management.
  • A heifer was treated at the grazier last week for woody tongue.

People Management

  • The first round of interviews for the Hub manager’s role commenced this week.
  • We would like to welcome Baljit Singh to the farm team. He was employed as a milk harvester just prior to Christmas but has started in a permanent role this week.
  • The monthly SDRF Board meeting was held on site this week.

Research on-farm

  • The research team and farm hosted Dr Padraig French from Teagasc in Ireland this week.  He was in NZ as part of a collaborative project with DairyNZ investigating alternative wintering options for Southland. In addition to visiting the Hub and meeting with the SDRF board the group visited a range of farms across the region that are operating a range of paddock based and off-paddock wintering systems. The visit concluded with a farmer workshop to outline the project, defined the issues and seek support from the industry to continue building the project.
  • Core samples are currently being collected from the different batches of baleage on the farm to ID the best material for lactation feeding.

General Farm Systems informationThe 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 ProposalsThe 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.nzFor more information check out the DairyNZ link:https://www.dairynz.co.nz/about-us/research/research-farms/southern-dairy-hub/