2020/21 Season HUB Weekly Farm Update as at 28th January 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

Table 1: Key Herd Numbers 28/1/2021 – percentage of the herd in each mob

DATE: 28th Jan 2021 Std Kale LI Kale Std FB LI FB Total
Current being milked 195 162 193 162 713
Milking TAD into vat 159 132 152 142 585
Milking OAD into vat 34 26 38 20 118
Sick/penos 4 4 8 4 20

Table 2: Key Weather and Feeding Numbers 28/1/2021

Soil temp (C) 16.2
Rainfall (mm) 18
Allocations Kg DM/cow/day Std Kale LI Kale Std FB LI FB
Milkers 16.0 kg DM pasture
Priority in-shed feed for light cows = 4 kg DM equiv 1.2 kg DM 
all cows in herd
16 kg DM pasture
Priority in-shed feed for light cows = 4 kg DM equiv 1 kg DM 
all cows in herd
16.8 kg DM pasture
Priority in-shed feed for light cows = 4 kg DM equiv 0.9 kg DM 
all cows in herd
16 kg DM pasture
Priority in-shed feed for light cows = 4 kg DM equiv 0.7 kg DM 
all cows in herd

Key Decisions: this week

  • Booked contractor for Tuesday next week to mow paddocks closed for conservation and identified x2 Std Kale, x1 LI Kale and x1 Std FB potential additional paddocks to add to those stepped over last week. Pre-graze mass, residuals and weather conditions will be reassessed on Sunday and paddocks for mowing confirmed.
  • No paddocks on the lower terrace with a risk of flooding have been identified for conservation and all paddocks nearing the top of the wedge in this zone will be grazed this week to minimise the risk if a flooding event occurs. We will proactively manage covers in this area over the next 4-6 weeks when the summer flooding risk is higher.
  • We will apply 25 kg N fertiliser/ha to all new grass paddocks next week ahead of the resumption of N fertiliser to Std paddocks in mid-February if soil moisture conditions allow and LI final application in March. A couple of paddocks from each of the Std farmlets have also been identified for a N top up as they missed an application earlier in the season.
  • Slug bait to be applied to the Std FB and LI FB direct drilled new grass paddocks as soon as possible
  • Side application of N fertiliser for the fodder beet will be applied by helicopter as soon as weather conditions allow
  • During the weekly crop assessments this week by PGGW technical field reps Std pdk 49 on the lower terrace was identified as poorer performing. Agronomy and soils experts are being consulted to determine the cause and identify actions to get it back on track.
  • Two new grass paddocks grazed this week will be topped and if necessary will be sprayed following the next grazing to get on top of the weeds.
  • Confirm milk pregnancy results with a scan

General Notes:

  • We have received the results back for the milk samples taken last week to check pregnancy status on a group of borderline cows identified following the 5 week pregnancy scan. This has identified an additional 26 cows in calf. Through a combination of scans and milk data our current best estimate of 6 week in calf rate is Std Kale 76.9%, LI Kale 76.2%, Std FB 69.4%, LI FB 72.6%. Accumulated in-calf rate is summarised below:

Figure 1: Accumulated in-calf rate


  • We have seen a clear divergence in production between the fodder beet and kale farmlets since the end of December (Figure 2). Some of this can be attributed to the higher number of animals on OAD milking in the Std and LI FB systems. In the kale system we utilise the inshed feeding for priority feeding of light BCS animals whereas in the fodder beet system OAD milking is their first option as supplementary feeding in their systems is based on Fodder beet and baleage. Numbers of animals on priority management for light BCS are summarised in Table 3.

Figure 2: Weekly average kg MS/cow season to date

Figure 3: Milk production (kg MS/cow/day) comparison for each farmlet

Table 3: Summary of animal numbers on priority management for BCS

Std Kale LI Kale Std FB LI FB
OAD milking 23 20 47 21
Priority feeding only 31 14
Total under BCS mgmt 54 34 47 21
  • Current Average pasture cover across the farmlets is similar to that observed at the same time last year (Figure 4)

Figure 4: Farmlet weekly average pasture cover season to date


  • It is great to see pasture production through January exceeding that achieved in January 2020. At the Hub this has enabled us to conserve more pasture as baleage, reducing the amount of supplement we will need to purchase for winter.

Figure 5: Farmlet monthly average growth rate season to date

Animal Health

  • We are continuing to get a few cases of mastitis but it does not appear to be associated with 1 particular quarter anymore. One twisted liner was discovered on inspection last week.
  • Lameness management is an ongoing process through inline mineral supplementation, hoof management, cow flow management and use of copper sulphate mats at the dairy.
  • This week the R2’s received a copper bolus and long acting selenium treatment and the R1’s received a copper bolus, selenium B12 injection and were drenched and weighed. This group average 138 kg and have been gaining 0.7 kg liveweight per day.

Figure 6: R1’s in the yard at the graziers waiting to be weighed, drenched etc

People Management and Visitors

  • The farm team are continuing on the implementation of LEAN management principles again to ensure the correct procedures are followed and efficiencies maximised on farm. You can read more about LEAN management and FarmTune here: FarmTune® – DairyNZ
  • This week we hosted a farmer workshop convened by Research First to understand what dairy farmers need from their industry organisation.

Research on-farm

  • The technical team will start botanical composition measurements on all paddocks next week to assess the proportion of clover in each farmlet. For the last 2 seasons we have observed significantly more clover in the LI farmlets receiving 50 kg N/ha/annum compared with the Std farmlets receiving approximately 200 kg N/ha/annum so it will be interesting to see if the trend continues this season.

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: