2021/22 Season HUB Weekly Farm Update as at 25th June 2021

Table 1: Farmlet feed wedges and general information

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

NOTE: Hatched paddocks are springer paddocks

Table 1: Key Herd Numbers 25/06/2021 – number of cows in each mob

DATE: 25 June 2021 Std Kale LI Kale Std FB LI FB Total
Current being milked 0 0 0 0
Dries 202 168 202 167 739
Slips 1 1 1 3

Table 2: Key Weather and Feeding Numbers 25/6/2021

Soil temp (C) 8.2
Rainfall (mm) 17.6
Allocations Kg DM/cow/day Std Kale LI Kale Std FB LI FB
Milkers Kale 10.8-11.8 kg DM/cow

Baleage 4.4–3.3 kg DM/cow
Kale 11.8 kg DM/cow

Baleage 3.3 kg DM/cow
Beet 9-10 kg DM/cow

Baleage 4.2–3.3 kg DM/cow
Beet 9.8 kg DM/cow

Baleage 3.3 kg DM/cow

Key Decisions: this week

  • We have adjusted allocations to a couple of mobs this week based on new crop yield information and feedback from the farm team on residuals and cow behaviour. In all cases the amount of crop offered has been increased
  • Back fences and portable water troughs continue to be moved daily
  • Mineral supplementation to the fodder beet mobs is continuing with loose lick phosphorus plus DCP onto baleage
  • X3 culls left the farm in the last week. All these animals were slips.
  • X7 fodder beet cows that had been in the lame mob were returned to their wintering mobs following transition back up to full beet allocation
  • There are x4 cows – x1 Std Kale, x2 Std FB and x1 LI FB that we have decided to keep off crop for the winter. They will be kept in a separate area and offered ad libitum baleage and 3 kg PKE/day.
  • Total feed allocation to the R1’s has been increased from 7.3 to 7.8 kg DM/animal/day by increasing the crop allocation. We have calculated that we have about 90 days of beet left for the R1’s so have increased their beet allocation slightly and will reassess the allocation at the end of their current paddock. Any surplus beet will either be lifted and sold or lifted and using for early lactation supplement for the fodder beet herds.

General Notes:

  • Mild temperatures at the start of June resulted in pasture growth for the first two weeks of between 13 to 16 kg DM/ha/day. This is somewhat higher than the growth measured at the Woodlands research site where growth was very similar to the same period last year (Figure 1)

Figure 1: Woodlands average pasture growth for 2021-22 compared with previous season and long term average.

 

  • Average pasture covers are currently between 1950 and 2025 kg DM/ha

Animal Health

  • A couple of cows showing signs of lameness have been taken of crop for health checking this week.
  • All mobs are in the process of being body condition scored. Four herds were done today and the other 4 will be done on Monday. Once the results have been assessed there may be some movement of animals between mobs to ensure we minimise the range in BCS at the end of winter..

SDH Research/Demonstration

  • We are well into the measurements on the two crop establishment paddocks at SDH and the commercial farms across Southland. No results to report yet but a couple of observations from the fodder beet paddock from last Friday.
    • More bulb remaining in the strip till and direct drilled areas of the paddock. It appears these bulbs have broken off when the cows were grazing them rather than them being pulled out of the ground. Cows are trying to eat down through these as evidenced by the photo below.

Figure 1: Remnant of crop bulb in fodder beet paddock

 

    • Soil in the conventionally cultivated area appeared stickier on the bottom of gum boots when walking across the area on Friday last week.   

Figure 2: Cows lying across the fodder beet demonstration paddock

 

  • Based on the residual crop observations from last Friday residual measurements have been completed on each treatment in the kale and fodder beet paddocks this week. Figure 3 below shows what was remaining after harvest and washing from each of the 1 m2 quadrats

Figure 3: Residual crop from 1m2 quadrats in our crop establishment demonstration areas

Communication

  • Results from SDH research have been presented at a number of events over the last couple of weeks:
    • SFF Sustainable Use of Fodder beet project team workshop
    • Winter grazing action group (WGAG) meeting. The WGAG also visited SDH this morning
    • ACE Future Farming Expo.
    • SDH Farmer Reference group meeting
    • Hedgehope-Makarewa Catchment Group field day
    • South Island Dairy Event (SIDE) conference

People

  • We are nearly at full staffing with Christian starting as a farm assistant last week. We are still looking for an assistant calf rearer.

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/