2020/21 Season HUB Weekly Farm Update as at 25th November 2021

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 25/11/2021 – number of cows in each mob

DATE: 25 Nov 2021 Std Kale LI Kale Std FB LI FB Total
Cows on Farm 196 161 195 161 713
Milkers TAD 162 139 160 144 605
Milkers OAD 32 21 31 14 98
Sick OAD 2 1 4 3 10
Slips/empty/deaths 5 5 14 5 29

General Farm Information

Table 2: Key Weather and Feeding Numbers 25th November 2021

Soil temp (C) 15.9
Rainfall (mm) 10.8 mm
Allocations Kg DM/cow/day Std Kale LI Kale Std FB LI FB
Milkers 18 kg DM
17 kg pasture
1 kg inshed feed
18 kg DM
17 kg pasture
1 kg inshed feed
18 kg DM
17 kg pasture
1 kg fodder beet
18 kg DM
17 kg pasture
1 kg fodder beet

Key Decisions and Why?

  • Controlling pasture quality is on the top of the priority list again this week at SDH. 
  • Topping will be used to maintain pasture quality, however rather than topping whole paddocks, this week the team will try the “race track” method. 
    • Why: We are finding that the paddocks that have been either topped or cut for baleage take longer to come back into the round than those being grazed. By only doing the outer half or inner half of a paddock, this will give us both better quality pastures as hopefully getting them back to pre-graze mass 1 or 2 days earlier than if it had been fully topped. 
    • The fodderbeet farmlets have struggled more to date to hit residual with 31% of the StdFB and 21% of the LIFB paddocks topped to control quality, compared with only 10% and 18% of the Std and LI kale farmlets, respectively. 
  • All farmlets will continue to receive supplementary feed this week at the same levels as last week (1kg of FB for the Fodder beet farmlets and 1kg of inshed feed for the Kale farmlets).
  • We have decided to hold off starting the regrassing of grass to grass paddocks until we are consistently growing above demand. 
    • Why: Through most parts of the year the farmlets are running with a stocking rate of 3.1 cows/ha for the standard herds and 2.6 for the low impact herds. However, now with the number of paddocks out of the rotation with last year’s crop paddocks just sown back in pasture and the 2022 winter crop paddocks being planted, the effective stocking rate is currently 3.5 for the standard herds and 2.9 for the low impact herds. To take out more paddocks now would place too much pressure on the grazing rotation and increase the requirement for supplements.
  • Growth rates are hovering between 50-60kgDM/ha/day which is just matching demand. Demand for the standard farmlets is currently 60kgDM/ha/day (pink line on graph) and 50kgDM/ha/day for the LI farmlets (blue line on graph).

Figure: Weekly growth rate since start of the season

General Notes

  • APC for every farmlet is currently higher than we would like due to the paddocks that have been shut for conservation still waiting to be mowed and also a few paddocks with untidy residuals.
  • All maintenance fertilizer has now been applied. N fertilizer continues to be applied behind the cows for the standard farmlets and the decision around when the low impact farmlets will get their next application of N, is being discussed over the coming weeks. 
  • The paddocks that were shut up for baleage have not yet been mowed because of weather implications, however this is booked in over the weekend. Due to the delay, the quality of this baleage is now questionable, so samples will be taken to determine whether it will be used as milker feed or winter feed. 
  • All of the Fodderbeet for next winter has been sown with the sprayer contractors due to apply the pre-emergent spray prior to the weekend. The pre emergent pest spray is mainly targeted at nissius. 
  • This week we finished our first 3 weeks of mating and hit a 95% 3-week submission rate across the farm, with all herds achieving higher than both the industry target of 90% and last years submission results. An interesting point to note is that in both the standard herds, 14% of the cows had intervention, where as this was only 9% for both of the low impact herds. 
  • In addition to the total submission rate, we are interested in the submission rates of the different age groups in each herd. For the Std FB herd the submission rate of the cows 4 years and older have tracked below that of the other 3 herds for weeks 2 and 3 of mating.  Second calvers in the LI FB herd had lower submission through the middle of the first 3 weeks of mating. A full analysis of the mating data will be completed once we have the conception results. 
  • In addition to the total submission rate, we are interested in the submission rates of the different age groups in each herd. For the Std FB herd the submission rate of the cows 4 years and older have tracked below that of the other 3 herds for weeks 2 and 3 of mating.  Second calvers in the LI FB herd had lower submission through the middle of the first 3 weeks of mating. A full analysis of the mating data will be completed once we have the conception results.  

Figure 3: Comparison between age groups – 3 week submission rate

  • Milk production has continued to fluctuate this week depending on which paddocks the cows are grazing. The hiccup with the FB feeding to the FB herds has been reflecting in their milk production compared with the kale herds receiving the 1 kg DM inshed feeding. Now that we have resolved the amounts to offer we are hoping their production will lift.

Figure 4: Herd average milk production for the last 3 weeks

  • From December 1st, the older calves that are being grazed at the support block will be weaned off meal and be given PKE instead. Although there is a surplus of pasture at the moment, supplement will continue to be offered to reduce the risk of over grazing, increasing the risk of the calves consuming the coccidiosis larvae that are likely in the pastures based on previous years’ experience. 
  • Animal health: Additional selenium and iodine are still going through the dosatron as a way of ensuring the intake of these essential minerals. After discussions with the vets, the additional selenium will continue to be added for another month and the iodine will stay in the mix until the end of January. The tech team will take bloods in January to check these mineral levels to confirm the timing of reducing the dose rate. 
  • Soil temperatures have dropped a couple of degrees over the past week and are now sitting just below 16 degrees. With the moisture in the soil and these soil temperatures we have great growing conditions for pasture as long as we have sufficient sunshine hours.

SDH Research & Demonstration

  • Nothing to report this week

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:

https://www.dairynz.co.nz/about-us/research/research-farms/southern-dairy-hub/