2021/22 Season HUB Weekly Farm Update as at 29th July 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

NOTE: Hatched paddocks are springer paddocks

Table 1: Key Herd Numbers 29/07/2021 – number of cows in each mob

DATE: 29 July 2021 Std Kale LI Kale Std FB LI FB Total
Cows on Farm 202 167 200 167 736
Current being milked 2 2 2 2 8
Springers 50 40 43 50 183
Dries 150 125 155 115 545
Slips/empty 1 1 2 1 5

Table 2: Key Weather and Feeding Numbers 29/07/2021

Soil temp (C) Weather station has gone down since 22 July so no weather to report
Rainfall (mm)
Allocations Kg DM/cow/day Std Kale LI Kale Std FB LI FB
Colostrum 15-16 kg pasture
Springers 3-5 kg pasture & 5-7 kg baleage
Dry cows Kale 11.8 kg DM/cow

Baleage 3.3 kg DM/cow
Kale 11.8 kg DM/cow

Baleage 3.3 kg DM/cow
Beet 10 kg DM/cow

Baleage 3.3 kg DM/cow
Beet 10 kg DM/cow

Baleage 3.3 kg DM/cow

Key Decisions: this week

  • To minimise the amount of extra baleage going into the kale herds and with reducing demand on crop as springers are drafted we will be increasing the kale allocation for all the mobs back to approximately 12 kg DM/cow. Proportions will vary slightly based on mob sizes and baleage size in each paddock
  • With another springer draft planned for Tuesday next week we will be consolidating our mobs on crops. Each herd will have a mid calving crop mob and then the lates for each crop type e.g kale or fodder beet will be consolidated into 1 herd giving us 3 cow mobs and 1 R2 mob for each crop type.
  • The kale R1’s will be heading off farm to grazing on the 16th August which is a few days after the kale crop will be finished. Fodder beet R1’s will remain on crop until the end of September as they still have crop remaining.  All animals will be weighed before the kale’s head off farm and the fodder beet replacements will be reweighed before they leave as well.
  • We are currently assessing the remaining fodder beet area on farm with the likely outcome that some will be lifted and sold as it is surplus to requirement. Yields were up 15% on last year which has contributed to the surplus. Beet for milking supplement to the Std and LI FB herds will be lifted and stored when conditions are right.
  • Beet allocations will be reassessed based on recent yield estimates. The proportion of leaf has declined significantly during winter and is now averaging 18% across the last 5 paddocks that were yielded. The range is 13 to 25% between paddocks.   
  • We have selected our first 4 colostrum paddocks (one from each farmlet) as well as the first 4 milker paddocks. In making these selections we have considered paddock location relative to the springer mobs and will be keeping the colostrum cows as far away from the springer mobs as possible. With three springer mobs this is not an easy task.

Figure 1: Springers grazing from the back of the paddock

 

  • Complete the spring rotation plans and spring feed budgets using the farm walk information from this week and predicted calving dates.
  • ‘Spare’ bales from crop paddocks will be used to top up the springer diets if pre-graze mass is below that required to achieve 5 kg DM/cow in the 20 sq m per cow that is being allocated.
  • The calved cows will be split into milkers and colostrums when we have 100 cows calved.

General Notes:

  • Allflex collars have been fitted to all the cows this week but we are still waiting on the software before we can start accessing the data.
  • Maintenance on the five laneways exiting the dairy has been completed with some just requiring a scrape off and others needing resurfacing.
  • We have had our walk over weigh scales serviced after experiencing some drifting of weights at the end of last season. While they are in good condition they are getting to the end of their lifespan so we will monitor their accuracy and if necessary replace the load bars.
  • Average pasture for all the farmlets is remarkedly similar to the same time last year so we feel like we are in a good position feed wise.
  • With 45% of the herd due to calve in the first 2 weeks there will be lots of pressure on our springer paddocks for the next couple of weeks but we are still aiming to get cows off crop at least 14 days pre-calving to minimise the risk of any calves being born on crop.

Figure 2: Nice sized bull calf from a cow due to calve on 5th August

 

  • The first herd test is scheduled for the 23/24th August

Animal Health

  • We had two down cows in the fodder beet springers on Thursday so decided to get some blood samples taken from a few others in the group when the vet was on site to check on some lame cows. Pasture samples will also be taken to look at the mineral profile of all the springer paddocks as several this year are in the effluent block.
  • With two down cows we revisited the springer mineral supplementation and will discuss options with the vets. Cows are currently getting 50 g DCP and 50 g MgO dusted onto pasture daily. MgCl is also going through the water system.
  • The five lame cows have been reassessed by the vet with three returning to the springers. The others will stay in the paddock by the shed.

SDH Research/Demonstration

  • Measurements on the 2 crop establishment pilot project paddocks have finished and the data is currently being entered and collated.
  • We are seeing good evidence of lying in our crop paddocks this week as conditions have dried out

Figure 3: Lying bowls behind the back fence in a fodder beet paddock

 

  • looking back across some of the paddocks you can see where the wet periods were

Figure 4: Changes in soil appearance across a fodder beet paddock. Left hand side grazed in drier conditions

 

  • This week the farmer reference group met to discuss results of farm systems modelling on potential farm systems options for the farm from the start of the 2022-23 season. At an earlier meeting it was decided the main theme for consideration was reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Scenarios modelled ranged from refinement of our current Std Kale and LI FB systems to:
    • No winter cropping
    • Fully self-contained with youngstock on and no purchased feed for lactation
    • A modified full season OAD system
    • Off paddock wintering
    • Stacked mitigations including plantain, off paddock wintering, reduced N fertiliser, lower replacement rates and no PKE
  • The table below summarises some of the modelling results against a range of key performance indicators.
  • The challenge now is to narrow down the farm system options to four and further socialise the options with the dairy sector in the south
  • If you are interested in being involved in this process through the farmer reference group or focus groups please let us know by emailing dawn.dalley@dairynz.co.nz

Communication

People

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:

https://www.dairynz.co.nz/about-us/research/research-farms/southern-dairy-hub/