2019/20 Season HUB Weekly Farm Update as at 26th September 2019

Table 1: Farmlet feed wedges and general information

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

General Farm Information

Table 2: Key Numbers 26th September 2019

Kale Fodder beet
Soil temp (C) 8.2
Rainfall (mm) 28.6
Dry cow Intake Target (kg DM/cow) Boxed with springers Cleaning up lifted FB pdks and then into springers
Springer allocation 3.5kg DM pasture + 6.5 kg DM baleage
Colostrum Allocation (kg DM/cow) 16kg DM pasture
Milk Allocation 18kg DM 18kg DM
Animal Summary Std Kale LI Kale Std FB LI FB
Pink Blue Green Yellow
% Dries 0% 0% 6% 8%
% Springers 12% 13% 6% 7%
% Colostrums/Penos/OAD 11% 9% 7% 8%
% TAD Milkers (total) 82% 83% 80% 80%

Key Decisions: this week

  • The weather conditions have deteriorated this week with increased rainfall, hail, wind and decreased soil temperatures. The Std. Kale (with help from the dry cows in behind to clean up old clumps) have grazed more paddocks to 1500kg DM/ha residual in the first round and are now entering a period of deficit, most likely for the next 2 weeks if growing conditions do not improve. The Std. FB are also entering a period of deficit. The pasture situation is a little better on the lower stocked LI Kale and FB farmlets.
  • The addition of supplement now is crucial to allow us to hold our current round length, protect cover ahead of the cows, minimise paddock damage and ensure we hit target APC at balance date. The addition of supplement is made easier with the Kale farmlets due to the easy/instant addition of milking quality inshed feeding whilst the FB farmlets must be slowly reintroduced back onto FB. Std FB farmlet will be offered 0.5kg FB/cow/day from today (26th Sept) increasing to 2kg FB/cow/day by Tuesday. The LI_FB farmlet started FB on Friday last week and will increase to 1.5 kg DM over the next week. Std. Kale farmlets have been offered 2kg PKE/cow/day and LI Kale 1kg PKE/cow/day, increasing to 2kg if necessary. All mobs on the farm will receive baleage over this poor weather period at 1 bale/herd or 1.2-1.6kg DM/cow/day depending on herd size.
  • All non-calved cows will receive 2/3 baleage and 1/3 grass to save using and damaging more paddocks.

Figure 1: APC across each farmlet ranging from 2130 to 2232kg DM/ha


  • With poor weather conditions, soil temp has decreased from 8.8oC (Monday 23rd Sept) down to 4.9oC today (26th Sept). This will have an impact on pasture growth and will be monitored for next fertiliser application. At this stage it is planned to do another round of fertiliser on Wednesday by helicopter with Ammo 31 at 95 or 65kg/ha applied.  Last week we reported our fertiliser had gone on at flat rate, but this was a software bug and the fertiliser was applied at the two different rates.  Standard farmlets had received 30kgN/ha (95 kg Ammo 31/ha applied) and Low Impact farmlets did receive 20kgN/ha (65 kg Ammo 31/ha applied.)
  • The Std.FB and LI Kale farmlets have increased in milk production this week averaging (2kg MS/cow/day), however, due to poorer quality grass in some 1st round paddocks, the Std. Kale and LI FB are still producing below optimal levels (1.8 vs. 1.7kg MS/cow/day).

Figure 2: Milk production/cow for each farmlet up to 25th September


  • Cow have made some mess in gateways and corners of paddocks whilst trying to shelter from weather. They have also not cleaned up some paddocks as well as they could due to mud and moving them on to try and minimise pugging; these paddocks have been ear-marked for next round and muddy, bare patches identified for stitching in grass seed.
  • After discussion at the farmer reference group this week and issues with calving difficulties this year we have decided to go with Jersey bulls over our heifers (1:20 ratio with x2 spares) and 6 weeks AB followed by Jersey bulls for the milking herds.

General Notes:

  • We are happy with the current average BCS of the farmlets and the huge improvement the identified lighter cows have made on OAD. This week x13 OAD cows were drafted back into their TAD farmlets. Of the farmlets, the Std. Kale and Std. FB have shown no change over the last fortnight (BCS 4.7 and BCS 4.8). It is essential that we continue monitoring and identifying lighter BCS cows, especially as we approach mating. The Graph below has a scale of 4.6 – 4.9 BCS – so the difference between herds isn’t as large as the graph may first appear to show

Figure 3: Average BCS results for milkers


  • FB has been lifted and any excess FB still in the paddock will be cleaned up by the FB dry mob. Lifted FB has been fed out to the FB farmlets behind a wire. Due to the transition process the cows are only offered the FB break when they have a full gut and the whole mob is back from the shed. This is to prevent gorging and resulting acidosis. You can read more about transitioning cows onto FB here: https://www.dairynz.co.nz/feed/crops/fodder-beet/fodder-beet-transitioning/

Figure 4: Lifted FB


  • Calves were weighed this week and results will be included in next week’s notes.
  • Two paddocks were mown post grazing and tidied up this week, this was to create an even cover and prevent cows from having to eat into the poor quality base which would therefore impact on energy levels and milk production.

Animal Health

  • So far this season we have had x7 cases of mastitis
  • Unfortunately, we had one calf misadventure this week resulting in euthanasia
  • We still have cows requiring treatment for metritis due to hard calvings but are clearing up well post-treatment.


People Management and Visitors

  • This week we had the farmer reference group meeting. We discussed future actions around mating, rotavirus protection, BCS of the herd and feeding, future research of interest, and improving our farm notes.

Research on-farm

  • We have now completed the initial blood and stature measurements on all the newborn replacement heifers. They are now on fortnightly weighing and will have their stature remeasured at weaning.
  • The first of our N intake estimation periods is scheduled for mid October. During this time we will collect urine, faeces, milk and feed samples to estimate N intake and partitioning.

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: