2020/21 Season HUB Weekly Farm Update as at 24th September 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 24/09/2020 – percentage of the herd in each mob

DATE: 17th Sept 2020  Std Kale LI Kale Std FB LI FB
Calved milking 87 82 84 86
Calved colostrum 4 3 3 2
Springers 6 7 5 8
Dries on crop - - 8 4
Dries on grass 3 8 - -

Table 2: Key Weather and Feeding Numbers 24/09/2020

Soil temp (C) 7.4
Rainfall (mm) 26.4
Allocations Kg DM/cow/day Std Kale LI Kale Std FB LI FB
Dry cows on crop 9.5 crop + 3 baleage
DCP 50 g/cow/d
Springers 8 pasture + 2.5 baleage
MgO 50 g/cow/d
8 pasture + 2.5 baleage
MgO 50 g/cow/d + DCP 100 g/cow/d
Colostrums 15 pasture
MgO 50 g/cow/d,
DCP 100 g/cow/d,
Limeflour 300 g/cow/d
15 pasture
MgO 50 g/cow/d,
DCP 150 g/cow/d,
Limeflour 300 g/cow/d
Milkers 16kg pasture + 3 kg inshed 18.5 kg DM pasture 17 kg DM pasture + 1.5kg FB 18.5 kg DM pasture

Key Decisions: this week

  • The Std. farmlets are now into their second round which means they are going into lower pre-grazing covers. Rather than putting in  will drop from 3 feds/pdk to 2 feds/pdk (22 day rotation) and due to poor weather predicted, the paddock will be offered in a two lots at a 60:40 split rather than one 24 hour grazing.
  • The Std. FB will continue to receive 1.5kg FB and the Std. Kale will have their inshed feeding increased to 3kg /cow/day. We measured the purchased lifted FB to be 20.7% DM.
  • Fodder beet herds will continue to be returned to paddocks to hit residual in any first round paddocks if required. Kale dries will follow the milkers for any paddocks with untidy residuals.

Figure 1: Std. FB cows enjoying their FB last week

  • The LI farmlets still have a couple of first round pdks left and are not receiving any supplements. When they reach their second round pdks next week additional supplement may need to be added depending on the pre-graze covers.
  • If the weather and temperature drops next week all farmlets will be offered baleage to help the cows deal with the conditions and compensate for the poorer utilisation of pasture. It also makes it easier to ensure they are receiving their minerals by dusting the baleage rather than the paddock.
  • Immediate action will be taken with our lower BCS at risk animals. We noticed that most of these animals did not hit target their pre-calve BCS target (i.e. less than BCS 5) so started the season on the back foot. We need to invest in them now to ensure they have the best chance of cycling and conceiving early in the mating period. Triggers for management intervention based on BCS include
    • Current BCS and trend
    • Calving date
    • Health history.
  • Because of differences between herds in their current management the actions differ between the herds as outlined below:

Std Kale herd

    • Low BCS (less than BCS 4) and previous health issues
      • OAD milking in the colostrum mob and priority feeding – 1 kg/day more inshed feed than the herd offering
    • Low BCS (less than BCS 4) but no health or previous intervention
      • OAD milking in the milker mob – 1 kg/day more inshed feed than the herd offering

LI Kale herd

    • Low BCS (less than BCS 4) and previous health issues
      • OAD milking in the colostrum mob and priority feeding – 3 kg/day inshed feed
    • Low BCS (less than BCS 4) but no health or previous intervention
      • OAD milking in the milker mob

FB herds

    • Low BCS (less than BCS 4) and previous health issues
      • OAD milking in the colostrum mob and priority feeding – 3 kg/day inshed feeding
    • Low BCS (less than BCS 4) but no health or previous intervention
      • OAD milking in the milker mob

From the graph below you can also see that it is the LI FB cows that are of the lowest average BCS and it has been noted that there are more rough coated animals in this herd.

Figure 2: BCS of milkers for each farmlet

Figure 3: BCS for remaining dry cows for each farmlet


  • With the springer mob shrinking in size we will box them into one mob tomorrow for ease of management.
  • The FB dries have a springer draft on Monday and the decision will be made if the mob left on FB is too small to manage and if so they will join the rest of the springers.
  • Next week the R2s will have their pre-mating statures and weights taken and receive a copper bolus. It will be good to check in with how they are going at the graziers.

General Notes:

  • With a break in the weather and a few nice sunny days we were able to apply fertiliser via helicopter to between 60 and 70% of each farmlet. Std. farmlets received 30kg N/ha as Ammo31 and the LI received 20kg N/ha as granular ammonium sulphate. The reason for the difference in product is to ensure the same application of sulphate to the Std. and LI farmlets.
  • This week, for the first time in SDH history, all farmlets exceeded 2kg MS/cow/day. The FB vat also showed a higher % of milksolids than the kales last pickup. We noticed a spike in the Std. FB farmlet production with the addition of FB. Production continues to move up and down as mob sizes change and feed allocations are adjusted.

Figure 4: Milk production for each farmlet kg MS/cow/day


  • The first lot of x40 calves will be trucked to the support block tomorrow. They have been outside for 2 days and even managed to take themselves for a tour around the farm. The next lot will go outside on Saturday for a few days and then also head to the support block.

Figure 5: Taking care of the new babies that were born in cold, wet weather last week. Covers, hot water bottles and tummies full of warm milk were a must


  • Drainage continues on the farm and cleaning of tile drains on the flats. After we have finished the crop pdks we will also do drainage in two of the road side paddocks that have no drainage at all and have had wet areas in them for the last 2 seasons.
  • With the bulk of calving out of the way its time to get back on top of other jobs. The team has started weed control again; thistles and ragwort have begun to appear.
  • Our catch crop of Milton oats that we sowed at the support block on the 31st August at 100kg/ha with the spader drill have germinated. We plan to take weekly photos in the same spot to track their visual appearance.

Figure 6: Germinated catch-crop of oats

Animal Health

  • Now that the Std. FB milkers are receiving 1.5kg FB/cow/day we will begin to feed 50gm DCP with the MgO and limeflour that is being dusted daily.
  • We treated x5 cows for mastitis this week and also identified x25 with SCC over 900,000 cells/ml (x7 LI Kale, x6 Std. Kale, x4 LI FB and x9 Std. FB) from the herd test. These cows will all be stripped and treated if necessary.
  • The next round of metri-checking was completed this morning. We will also get the vet to recheck the animals treated from the last metri-check round.
  • A few lame cows have been popping up and needing treatment

People Management and Visitors

  • Once again we are planning for our post calving field day scheduled for the 8th October, if you haven’t done so already, please put this date in your calendar and come and see us!

Research on-farm

  • Our monthly pasture quality and N intake estimation measurements have commenced for this season. Below is a summary of our first-round pasture quality by treatment (2 paddocks per farmlet). There are small differences between the farmlets but these are most likely due to differences in cultivar and days since grazing rather than treatment effects.
  • We also did the monthly feed quality sampling on our Participatory Research farms this week so their data have been included in the table below as well. Just waiting on the results back from the Tairei farm.

Table 3: Pasture quality summary from 2 paddocks per farmlet

Dry matter Crude Protein ME NDF Phosphorus Calcium Magnesium
% % of DM MJ/kg DM % of DM % w/w % w/w % w/w
LI FB 19.9 17.8 11.6 44.6 0.37 0.66 0.16
LI Kale 19.3 19.2 11.9 41.0 0.37 0.55 0.15
Std FB 19.0 22.2 12.0 43.4 0.40 0.49 0.18
Std Kale 18.6 21.0 11.7 43.9 0.39 0.50 0.16
Eastern Southland 14.1 23.7 12.1 42.2 0.47 0.54 0.25
Northern Southland 17.7 25.1 12.7 37.6 0.44 0.57 0.17
South Otago 17.8 21.6 12.3 38.5 0.41 0.49 0.15

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: