2019/20 Season HUB Weekly Farm Update as at 29th August 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 29th August 2019

Kale Fodder beet
Soil temp (C) 6.3
Rainfall (mm) 22.2
Dry cow Intake Target (kg DM/cow) 7 + 7 10.6 + 3
Springer allocation 5 pasture plus 5 baleage
Colostrum Allocation (kg DM/cow) 15.5kg DM
Milk Allocation 16.7kg DM 16.7kg DM
Animal Summary Std Kale LI Kale Std FB LI FB
Pink Blue Green Yellow
Dries 45 46 53 48
Springers 55 48 34 34
Colostrums 23 18 24 15
Milkers 76 55 89 72

**We apologise for an incorrect soil temp reading last week; the value was 6.3 not 3 oC as recorded.

Key Decisions: this week

  • It has been quite wet over the last week and this has resulted in some paddock damage especially with the colostrum herd. To prevent this from continuing the colostrums will be offered a larger break and more feed and will be back fenced where practical; the team will monitor paddock conditions and the weather to allow decisions to be made on allocation and achievement of residuals.

Figure 1: It is important to discuss with the team what ‘good’ looks like. The image above shows the residual left by the milkers: good residual and minimal pugging damage


  • This week the milker allocation will increase from 16.2 to 16.7kg DM/cow/day as cow intake increases post calving. The increase in allocation is based on calving spread and estimated intake of cows each week post calving.
  • The mobs are now large enough to be split into their final farmlets however this will be postponed allowing us to deal with the current high mass paddocks across the farm. We have a few high mass paddocks ie. 3500+ kg DM/ha cover which will be best grazed using a bigger mob of animals to get in and out as quickly as possible.  Herds will be split once we are going into pregraze paddocks closer to 3000 kg DM/ha.
  • The image below shows the dead matter in the base of the high cover paddocks; due to the poorer quality in the base the milkers graze to 1800/1900kg DM/ha followed by the dries no longer on crop which graze it down to 1600kg DM/ha residual as weather conditions allow. We are anticipating that there will be some paddocks that will require cleaning up in the second round.
  • From next week we will be able to report in the notes milk production from both the kale and FB vats.
  • The team was busy this week bringing in all herds for body condition scoring.  The kale milkers have a larger percentage of BCS<4.5 compared to the FB milkers. The lighter kale milkers have been identified and will be preferentially fed 0.5kg DM PKE/cow/milking.
  • The fodder beet cows have wintered better than the kale cows where we have struggled to achieve pre-calving body condition score targets. We are continuing to investigate why this has occurred as winter diets were formulated to achieve the same BCS gain during the winter period.

Table 3: BCS results for all mobs

Std Kale LI Kale Std FB LI FB
Pink Blue Green Yellow
BCS – milkers 4.6 4.6 4.7 4.7
% less than BCS 4.5 19 26 3 3
BCS colostrum 4.5 4.5 4.9 4.9
BCS Springers 5.3 5.3 5.6 5.5
BCS Dries 5.2 5.2 5.5 5.6
  • Tomorrow half the heavier heifers (R1’s) will go to the grazier, the rest will be fed pasture, baleage and PKE until they leave next week. It is important to ensure good communication with the grazier whilst stock are away; you can read more about grazier relationships and young stock targets here: https://www.dairynz.co.nz/Search/Results?Term=grazier

General Notes:

  • Approximately 2 ha of FB (160 T fresh weight) was lifted and will be fed out as supplement to FB cows. We are currently waiting on the DM results however based on an estimated 15%DM this amounts to 23t DM lifted. After calculating tonnes DM harvested and updating the feed budget we have concluded that we will have 2ha available to sell.
  • We are really happy with the progress of our calves and the passion and love that goes into rearing them. The first lot of calves were debudded last week and trained onto the mobile feeder. The plan will be to introduce the first mob outside over the next week.

Figure 3: A lot of care and love goes into rearing each calf to ensure they all get the best start to life.

Animal Health

  • Cows which have experienced retained foetal membranes (RFM) or are significantly lighter will be kept in the colostrum mob and milked once a day. This will ensure that are closely monitored and returned to full health. 
  • All cows are rapid milk test (RMT) before leaving the colostrum mob. The conductivity of the milk is also monitored using inshed technology to identify any potential spikes that could indicate high SCC or mastitis.
  • **Correction from last week’s notes: Please find the correct images attached.

A fodder beet cow treated for stomach issues 2 weeks ago had not responded to treatment and was losing condition, so the decision was made for her to be euthanized. On inspection from the vet it appears that she had experienced clinical acidosis. In the picture below you can see a comparison of a healthy rumen (left) with that of the affected cow. Her rumen was thickened and was smooth in places where the papillae have been ‘burnt’ off.


Figure 4: On left hand side is a healthy rumen with intact papillae, on the right is the smooth rumen affected by acidosis.

People Management and Visitors

Research on-farm

  • The research team have been preparing for 6 weeks of milk composition monitoring on a subset of cows from each herd as part of an AgResearch project looking to determine whether winter diet has any impact on detailed milk composition components and the processing properties if the milk. Twenty cows from each herd calving between the 13th and 25th August with similar age and milk yield have been selected and will have milk samples collected on Days 0 (baseline sample), 7, 14, 28 and 42 days of the experiment.

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: