2018/19 Season HUB Weekly Farm Update as at 27th September 2018

General Farm Information

Table 1: Key Numbers 27th September

Milking Platform average
Soil temp (C) 8.3
Rainfall (mls) 26.8
Av. Pasture Cover (kg DM/ha) 2340* (excluding springer paddocks)
Pasture Growth rate (kg DM/ha/day) 47* (C-Dax)
SRP for next week 2.9 ha/day
No. of cows milking 609
Av. Kg MS/cow/day 1.9
Average milk fat (%) 4.62
Average milk prot (%) 3.83
Average SCC 133,000
Milker Intake Target (kg DM/cow) 18 kg DM total
Colostrum Intake Target (kg DM/cow) 14.5 kg DM pasture
Springer Intake Target (kg DM/cow) 10 kg total (baleage, hay & pasture

Table 2: Animal Summary by farmlet

Std Kale LI Kale Std FB LI FB Units
Pink Blue Green Yellow
Animal Summary
Milkers – TAD 161 145 158 136 cows
Colostrum/sick 13 6 11 12 cows
Staph 3 15 8 8
Springers & Dries 55 cows
% of heifer replacements selected 100% 100% 100% 100%

Table 3: Feed Summary by farmlet

Std Kale LI Kale Std FB LI FB Units
Pink Blue Green Yellow
Pasture Summary
Average pasture cover* (C-Dax and excluding springer paddocks) 2279 2403 2364 2314 kg DM
Growth Rate (c-dax) 52 53 48 53 kgDM/d
Rotation length last week 25 32 48 27
Target rotation length* (Excluding springer paddocks) 30 30 30 30 days
Target milker intake for this week 28th September - 5th October
Pasture 16.2 16.2 15.2 15.8 kg DM/cow
PKE:Barley Blend 1.8 1.8 kg DM/cow
Fodder beet 2.8 2.2 kg DM/cow
Baleage kg DM/cow
Total DMI 18 18 18 18 kg DM/cow

Key Decisions: this week

  • Target a 30-day rotation but aim to reduce this to 23-25 over the next 7-10 days
  • Remove the 2019 crop paddocks that were grazed by springers from the effective hectares for milking cow allocation and rotation length calculations. Any grazing off these paddocks before cultivation will be a bonus.
  • Continue in-shed feeding to the kale herds and lifted fodder beet to the fodder beet herds
  • N will continue to be applied to all Std FB and Std kale paddocks this week at a rate of 30 kg N/ha following grazing. Only x2 low impact kale and x1 low impact FB paddocks are left to receive N applications of 25kg N/ha. This will then conclude N application for the first round. The next round of application for these farms is currently scheduled for late November/December.
  • Fortnightly measuring of calves (which includes height, weight, girth and length measurements) will continue this week, along with disbudding and vaccinating the remaining replacements with 7 n 1.
  • From the low impact kale feed wedge, the wedge is indicating a potential of surplus in the next 10-14 days. A plan will be put into place as to how this surplus will be managed. From the SDH decision rules, options for these paddocks include:
    • stepped over and shut for conservation if in a genuine surplus
    • grazed earlier to reset the residual
    • topped post grazing

General Notes:

  • Calves are fed twice a day until reaching a target of 55-60kgs then go outside on to grass where they are fed 2-3 litres once a day until target weaning weights are hit. These weaning weights are under consideration as we determine the correct weight based off liveweight breeding values and the proportion of jersey and friesian.
  • Calves are currently grazing springer paddocks but lower than expected growth rates has prompted a change to rotating them around the farm paddocks. A plan is currently being developed to ensure all systems are treated equally.
  • The R1s have finished cleaning up fodder beet paddocks so will return back to the support block and join the kale R1’s this week.
  • Dry matter of the lifted fodder beet has been measured at 13%DM.
  • x12 paddocks were measured this week comparing the C-Dax and plate meter. There was a strong correlation in estimated mass between the two methods giving confidence in the reliability of the covers measured with the c-dax.
  • APC calculations this week have excluded the 2019 crop paddocks grazed by the springers and dry cows during late winter/spring (7 paddocks total). When these paddocks were included in the effective hectares for each farmlet it resulted in the rotation length being incorrectly calculated and slower than was what was occurring on farm. Calves are currently grazing these paddocks before they are weaned and head to the support block.
  • Supplement and pasture quality was tested this week. Results support the observations that the baleage quality has been variable with some bales being drier and lower in quality. Two paddocks from each farmlet (p1 and p2) were sampled and the results are reported below compared with the DairyNZ Facts and Figures estimates.
    • DM% in the 16-20% range is not surprising as all paddocks sampled were from the first round
    • ME from all was greater than 12 which is good for milking cows
    • Crude protein results were in the low end of the range – 14-21%.


Table 4: Feed Quality results

Animal Health

  • From the fortnightly herd tests, cows of high SCC (>200 000) will continue to be sampled and sent to Hamilton for culturing to determine if an infection is present and if so what bacteria
  • There were two deaths on farm this week and both autopsies were inconclusive. The animals were: x1 low impact fodder beet cow that had been in the milkers for some time and x1 standard fodder beet cow that was in the colostrums.
  • Animals that had calved to the 7th September have all been metrichecked. Of those metrichecked, 6/148 std kale (pink), 3/143 LI kale (blue), 3/150 std FB (green), and 4/127 LI FB (yellow) were treated.
  • With recent weather conditions there was concern that cows were possibly not receiving as much Mg as required. Cow behaviour will be monitored for signs of Mg deficiency and Mg dusting and dosatron applications will continue at 80 g/cow/day as MgO dusted to springers and colostrum mobs and 70gm/cow/day as MgCl2 through the water line.

People Management

  • This week we sadly said farewell to Ben Williams who has been our 2IC since June 2017. Ben has been an integral part of the SDH team, particularly during the setup phase of the farm. Ben quickly embraced the research aspects of the farm and has been a huge asset in developing systems and processes for data recording and keeping up the quality of data from the Delpro system. He has been a great ally    for the research team and his expertise will be greatly missed. Ben’s ambitions are to finish out the season in a farm management role in Central Otago before moving into a contract position. We wish Ben all the best with the next phase of his dairying career.

Research on-farm

  • Paperwork is being completed to get a supplier number for each vat so we can complete more detailed milk composition analysis on herd level milk i.e. Std and LI fodder beet herds will be milked into one vat and the kale cows into the second vat

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 guy.michaels@southerndairyhub.co.nz

For more information check out the DairyNZ link: