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

NOTES: Hatched bars are paddocks that have been stepped over for conservation

Table 1: Key Herd Numbers 25/11/2020 – percentage of the herd in each mob

DATE: 25th Nov 2020 Std Kale LI Kale Std FB LI FB Total
Current Herd Numbers 196 163 194 164 717
Milking TAD into vat 165 146 160 143 614
Milking OAD into vat 25 12 24 16 77
Sick/penos 6 5 10 5 26

Table 2: Key Weather and Feeding Numbers 26/11/2020

Soil temp (C) Weather station was moved this week so there is a delay in extracting the data
Rainfall (mm)
Allocations Kg DM/cow/day Std Kale LI Kale Std FB LI FB
Milkers 17.5 kg pasture + 1.5 kg inshed 19 kg DM pasture 19 kg DM pasture 19 kg DM pasture

Key Decisions: this week

  • In-shed feeding has been started to the Std Kale herd at 1.5 kg DM/cow/day as the wedge is indicating a short term feed deficit in the next week. Baleage will continue to be offered as required based on the feed remaining after the first 15 hours in the paddock.
  • Post graze topping will continue to manage seed-head emergence as required but with minimal intervention required last week we are expecting this trend to continue.
  • The third round of N has been completed and the fourth round of N application has started on the Std farmlets using N protect.
  • The third mob of calves started the weaning process this week with 39 calves being weaned (average weight 91 kg and gaining at 1 kg/day); A total of 115 calves are now either weaned or being weaned.
  • Paddocks for conservation have been identified in all farmlets. These are either ones that are now above the target line so residuals will not be achieved or are paddocks with a high base residual from previous grazings that need correcting. The farm team will be monitoring cow behaviour and if necessary paddocks will be pulled back into the rotation.
  • A maintenance application of lime (0.5 T/ha) will be applied and the capital dressings of P will be completed before starting on the maintenance K applications
  • AI mating will be shortened by 2 days and the bulls put out earlier to manage around a small team on farm due to annual leave and rostered days off.
  • The 8% of the cows that have not been put up for AI will be identified, assessed and if treated if necessary. Interestingly for the second year in a row the Std FB cows have had a real tail with their submission rate and currently have the highest proportion (15%) of unmated cows of all the herds (Figure 1)

Figure 1: Weekly AI submission rate for each herd

General Notes:

  • Only 1 paddock of fodder beet on the milking platform is left to be planted and 2 kale paddocks. The focus will then be on getting the support block paddocks planted. Preparation for these has started.
  • The crop establishment demonstration has now been completely planted with the direct drill and strip till drill completing their areas this week. If you are visiting the site the paddock is the second one on the right as you drive up the driveway towards the dairy.

Figure 2: Strip till establishment of fodder beet


  • Maintaining milk production across all farmlets has been challenging this week. Baleage has been required to all herds except the LI FB at least once during the week. The Std Kale have required baleage in most pdks hence the decision to start inshed feeding.

Figure 3: Milk production kg MS/cow/week for each farmlet


  • With 2021 crop areas out and new grass not back in the farmlets now have different pasture areas available for grazing (Table 2). There have also been different proportions of the farmlets topped or conserved.

Table 3: Grazing area available and proportion of each farm topped or conserved this season

Grazing area available Topped Conserved
Pink 56.5 15% 22%
Blue 57.7 24% 29%
Green 57.8 40% 15%
Li FB 60.9 19% 29%
  • Yield cuts were completed in the green chop oat paddock. 16 quadrats were cut to ground level across the paddock and dried at 100 C for DM determination and yield calculations. There was quite a lot of variability across the paddock (as seen below) hence the number of samples that were collected. A snip sample has also been taken for quality determination.

Figure 4: Catch crop oat yield cuts and visual differences in yield


  • We are very excited with the arrival of the pipe for the extension of the effluent system on farm. With not being able to use the line down to the lower terrace this season it has restricted how quickly we can get the pond down and we don’t want to overload paddocks in the zones where we can irrigate.
  • Baleage was conserved on the support block this week. This baleage is earmarked for winter crop.

Animal Health

  • We are continuing to get 2-3 cases of lameness per herd per week with all being white line issues.
  • X3 cows were treated for mastitis this week. Interestingly all 3 were back right quarters so we will be checking liners to make sure we don’t have one that has split and is causing the problem
  • X1 calf had an operation for a hernia this week

People Management and Visitors

  • We are on the lookout for a research technician to join the DairyNZ team on site. If this is something you might be interested in or know someone who might be keen check out the details from the link below


  • We have been contacted by Rural Delivery to film an update on the Southern Dairy Hub so this will be happening in the next couple of weeks.

Research on-farm

  • The winter crop fodder beet establishment demonstration area has been fully sown out and the kale paddock will be sown 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: