2017/18 Season HUB Weekly Farm Update as at 26th March 2018

Sunrise at the Hub

(courtesy of B Williams, Hub 2ic)

Week ending 26th March 2018

Table 1: Key Numbers week ending 26th March 2018

Av. Pasture Cover 2730 kg DM/ha
Round Length 42 days
Pasture Growth rate 69 kg DM/day
Soil temp 13 C
Rainfall 20mm
No. of cows milking 641 cows
Av. Supplement used (milkers) 0.250 kg DM/cow/day
Av. Kg MS/cow/day 1.36 kg MS/cow/day
Av. Kg MS/ha 3.6 kg MS/ha
Milking frequency 3in2

Week summary:

  • 1 fodder beet paddock has had a small portion lifted to allow 1 fodder beet herd at a time access to graze (refer notes under herd management)
  • 250 gms/cow/milking concentrate offered in-shed to all cows, 1kg/cow/milking to all cows at or below BCS 4
  • Cow BCS 4.6 average whole herd (14% herd at or below BCS 4 last test)
  • Second fungicide spray completed on half the fodder beet crop (refer notes under crops)

Critical Targets this week

  • Sample cows in Staph mob to confirm culling decisions
  • Tail scoring to check any damaged tails as part of farm policy
  • Confirm cull cows space booked for later in the autumn

Herd & Production

  • Four herds split evenly on age, BW / PW and on the winter crop trial treatment groups 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).
  • Staph Aureus has been identified in approximately 40 cows at The Hub. A high bulk SCC and cows not reacting quickly to treatment encouraged investigation leading to this diagnosis.
  • Infected cows have drafted out and are being milked last to prevent the spread of this infection.

Table 2: Herd & Production

Herds on Milking Platform Unit Value
Milkers - 3 in 2 cows 641
Milkers - OAD cows 0
Colostrum cows 0
Springers cows 0
Sick mob (1 x penicillin, In the vat: 2 x lames and 28 x HSCC cows) All but 4 in vat cows 8
Culls / deaths cows 0
Current Stocking Rate (platform; not counting R1’s) cows/ha 2.6
Production (to the factory) (28/02/18)
Total Milksolids (YTD) kgMS 220,505
Total Milksolids (MTD) kgMS 21,668
Total Milksolids (last 7 days) kgMS 5,289
Average per cow daily production (last 7 days) kgMS/cow/day 1.36
Per ha production (last 7 days) kgMS/ha 3.4
Other (to the factory)
Protein:Fat Ratio (7-day avg.) % 0.81
Milk Urea (7-day avg.) mg/dl 25.1
SCC (7-day avg.) cells/ml 140,000
Fat Evaluation Index (FEI) A
Fonterra 17/18 Forecast $/kgMS $6.55

Milking frequency

  • Milking frequency will remain at 3in2 due to staff preference. Lighter cows at or below BCS 4 are offered preferiential feeding in the shed (refer notes in weekly summary).


  • Slow release Copper bolus required in the next 3 months prior to going on crop
  • Empty heifers have left farm

Feed Management

  • The four herds are to remain on their allocated farmlets at all times. The 2017/18 season aim is to feed all cows in a similar manner all season. Any differences to be recorded. 
  • Decision rules for Cows of BCS 4 or less are that they can be fed extra supplement in the shed as required by the farm team and be milked OAD but will remain in their allocated herds for research purposes.
  • The concentrate in the shed is a 50:50 mix of PKE and barley.

Table 3: Feed Offered

Milkers – Pasture offered kgDM/cow/day 17
Milkers - Fodder Beet kgDM/cow/day 0
Milkers - Pasture Silage kgDM/cow/day 0
Milkers - Concentrates – 3 in 2 Cows (shed) kgDM/cow/day 0.250
Milkers - Concentrates – 3 in 2 Cows (pdk) kgDM/cow/day 0
Milkers - Concentrates - OAD Cows kgDM/cow/day 0
  • Cows back hitting residual targets now settled on a 42-day round.
  • Cows each offered in-shed 250gm concentrate (50/50 PKE: Barley) to encourage cow flow, cows BCS 4 or less offered 1kg/milking

Crop feeding

If the winter feed budget allows, fodder beet will be considered as a supplement for milkers late season.

This will allow the farm team to:

  • Offer a supplement feed with pasture to take pressure off the APC late in the season
  • Introduce the cows to beet through early winter transition
  • Open up the fodder beet paddock face ready for winter and ease of grazing
  • Avoid the use of pasture paddocks when transitioning onto fodder beet early winter (and the pugging damage associated)

Land, Pasture, Crop & Silage Management

  • Total area is 327ha(eff), 32.5ha(eff) young stock block and 294ha(eff) platform. Winter crop is grown on both blocks for all stock.
  • Crop rotation is two years in crop then re-grass. PGG Wrightson grass cultivars used are Rely, Platform and Excess, all diploids.
  • Where target residuals are missed, topping after grazing is the tool the farm team use as needed.

Table 4: Land, Pasture, Crop & Silage Metrics

Pre - Graze cover target kgDM/ha 3350
Post - Graze cover target kgDM/ha 1600
Average Pasture Cover (avg. over 4 farmlets) kgDM/ha 2730
Growth Rate (avg. over 4 farmlets) kgDM/ha/day 69
Rotation Length (avg. over 4 farmlets) days 42
Area Available for grazing (milkers) ha 252
Regrassing Area (out of rotation) ha 0
Baleage/Silage Area (out of rotation) ha 0
Crop Area (out of rotation) ha 49.6
Aeration Area ha 0.0
Total platform effective ha 300
Young Stock (not included in rotation) ha 29.0

Pasture management

  • Growth rate measured at 69kg DM/ha/day which matches warmer days, soil temp back to 13 degrees and 20mm rainfall.

Crop management

  • PGGWrightson agronomy advise was to consider a fungicide spray on the beet crops. The Hub has sprayed half our crops to cover risk. The spray has a with-holding period of 42 days no grazing post spraying so we could not spray all the area as we had planned some autumn grazing of beet with the beet herds.
  • The spray requirement was 2 sprays a month apart for best results. Second spray completed by helicopter this week.


  • Application of effluent occurs most days (as conditions allow) with the aim to keep the pond at or below 15% full for the autumn. This is effectively as low as the pond can be pumped and is the % full measured at this point.

Table 5: Nitrogen use on Farm

Nitrogen (Urea only)(last 7 days) Unit
Area (Winter crop) ha
Rate kg/N/ha
Fertiliser (last 7 days) Unit
Area ha 0
Rate kg/ha 0
Climate conditions
Rainfall (total last 7 days) mm 13
Soil Temp (7-day average) @10am °C 20

Reproductive Performance

  • The herd had an empty rate of 7 – 11%. This is either 7% of cows scanned or 11% of cows mated. The 11% is from that start of mating inclusive of cows culled due to Staph outbreak and the dry period.

Table 6: Reproduction Metrics

Planned start of Mating (PSM) Target Actual Unit
Mixed Aged Cows 29-Oct-17 Date
2016 Born Heifers 21-Oct-17 Date
Calving spread
3 weeks 64 %
6 weeks 83 %
9 weeks 97 %
3 week Submission Rate 90 91 %
6 week in-calf rate 78 79 %
Empty Rate 10 7-11 %

Research Update (fortnightly)

No update this week

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 guy.michaels@southerndairyhub.co.nz

For more information check out the DairyNZ link:


People Management

  • Nearing the end of our FarmTune programme with DairyNZ.