2021/22 Season HUB Weekly Farm Update as at 26th August 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 26/08/2021 – number of cows in each mob

DATE: 26 August 2021 Std Kale LI Kale Std FB LI FB Total
Cows on Farm 201 167 198 167 733
Current being milked 118 104 122 116 460
Springers 54 38 45 29 166
Dries on crop 28 22 29 22 99
Slips/empty/deaths 2 1 5 1 9

Table 2: Key Weather and Feeding Numbers 26/08/2021

Soil temp (C) 8.4
Rainfall (mm) 12.8 mm
Allocations Kg DM/cow/day Std Kale LI Kale Std FB LI FB
Milkers 16.5-17 kg DM (11-12 kg DM pasture + 4 kg inshed + baleage as required) 16.5-17 kg DM (11-12 kg DM pasture + 3 kg inshed + baleage as required) 16.5-17 kg DM (12 kg DM pasture + baleage) 16.5-17 kg DM (12 kg DM pasture + baleage)
Colostrum 15-16 kg pasture
(15 kg DM pasture + 1 kg DM baleage)
Springers 3-5 kg pasture & 5-7 kg baleage
Dry cows Kale 11 kg DM/cow
Baleage 4 kg DM/cow
Fodder beet 9.5 kg DM/cow
Baleage 3.5 kg DM/cow

Key Decisions: this week

  • Feeding this time of year can have a large impact on successfully setting up lactation. It is a fine balance between making sure cows are not underfed and causing paddock damage, but also wanting to achieve acceptable grazing residuals to ensure good quality, milking feed for the next round.
  • Our challenge from the last week is ensuring that our baleage fed FB farmlets do not become disadvantaged against our inshed supplemented kale farmlets. During this time of year it is important to keep reminding staff that each farmlet is to be treated as individual farms and can’t have a blanket approach put over them all.
  • We have booked the contractors to lift fodder beet as soon as the conditions allow. Lifted beet will be offered to milkers at 1-2 kg DM/day depending on the feed budget at the time.
  • The stems of our kale crop are starting to elongate with flowers starting to develop. This has prompted us to make a plan to get it eaten off as quickly as is practical without wasting heaps of feed. To help with this we have decided to graze the springers on kale for an hour/day. This will help eat through the last kale paddock and also slow down the springer rotation so we don’t run out of area and have to move them onto milker paddocks.

Figure 1: Stem elongation evidence in our remaining kale crop

 

  • Due to black rot in some of the kale we have not been pushing them to eat down residuals, instead focusing on the leaf and more palatable half of the stem before offering a new break. The left over kale residuals will be chopped up at the end before ploughing.
  • We have organised for our FB R2s to leave for grazing at the end of the month. Half a dozen lighter animals will stay back for preferential treatment. With the rain last week we were conscious of wetter parts of the R2s pdk and made the decision to move them and graze from the other direction. The decision paid off as surface water soon settled where they would have been grazing
  • Some colostrum pdks have significant areas of pasture damage in the corners and some grass seed will be broadcast onto these areas to help repair them in the interim.

Figure 2: Left over kale residuals; very woody

General Notes:

  • Wet conditions on farm continue to be challenging, and although in COVID Level 4 lockdown, we are doing well to keep up with on-farm business as usual the best we can.  Soil temperatures are still hovering around 8 degrees with a slight drop from last week from 8.7 to 8.4 degrees and a range of growth rates from 13-17 kg DM/ha/day. With current growth rates our average pasture cover is sitting between 2240 to 2350 kg DM/ha.

Figure 3: Actual vs. predicted average pasture cover for each farmlet

Figure 4: Area grazed compared to the SRP allocation (Std kale: top left, Std FB: bottom left, LI kale: top right, LI FB: bottom left)

 

  • Last week all the cows went through the shed to get a BCS assessment done. Because of Covid restrictions the data was captured with the BCS camera rather than using a trained assessor. We are happy with how the majority of the cows are looking although all herds have a bit of a tail in most mobs.

Figure 5: BCS distribution for each of the mobs on the farm by farmlet

Table 3: Herd average BCS for each farmlet

Std Kale LI Kale Std FB LI FB
Dries 5.3 5.3 5.2 5.4
Milkers 5.1 5.0 5.2 5.1
Springers 5.2 5.2 5.1 5.1
  • We have our first milk graphs to report through this week! The Std. FB have had a harder start with some potential under allocation of feed in one of their paddocks and this can be seen in their graph. Supplement feeding decisions have been revisited to minimise the chances of this happening again.

Figure 6: kg MS/cow farmlet comparison

 

  • Below shows the kg MS per hectare comparison between farmlets and across seasons. All farmlets are tracking higher than previous seasons because of the more compact calving spread this season. It is encouraging to see the LIFB farmlet having a good start to the season. Fingers crossed they continue to milk well.

Figure 7: kg MS/ha comparison between farmlets across seasons

Animal Health

  • The milkers are now all on TAD but any cows that were lighter, sick or struggling will remain on OAD to recover fully before transitioning.
  • We have had 3 mastitis cows this week which is minimal for this time of year and the wet weather we have been having.
  • We had the vet out last night to do a calving but overall have had minimal assisted calving’s. We have found this surprising as we feel our calves are quite big this year, however the cows appear to be calving them well by themselves. We have also had a few sets of twins born.

SDH Research/Demonstration

  • Under the current Covid Level 4 lockdown all research measurements have been put on hold. Only activities that relate to the well-being of the animals on farm can be completed.

Communication

People

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/