2020/21 Season HUB Weekly Farm Update as at 29th October 2020

Table 1: Farmlet feed wedges and general information

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


  1. hatched bars are paddocks stepped over for conservation
  2. dashed target line is for 19 kg DM/cow/day pasture allocation

Table 1: Key Herd Numbers 29/10/2020 – percentage of the herd in each mob

DATE: 29th Oct 2020 Std Kale LI Kale Std FB LI FB Total
Current Herd Numbers 197 163 197 166 723
Calved milkers 191 160 193 159 703
Sick/penos 6 3 4 7 20

Table 2: Key Weather and Feeding Numbers 29/10/2020

Soil temp (C) 11.6
Rainfall (mm) 38.8
Allocations Kg DM/cow/day Std Kale LI Kale Std FB LI FB
Milkers 14.5 kg pasture + 4.5 kg inshed 19 kg DM pasture 17 kg DM pasture + 2 kg FB 17.5 kg DM pasture + 1.5 kg FB

Key Decisions: this week

Note: Apologies for our typo last week; mating commences on Sunday 1st November with heat patches applied on Friday 20 October. Ideally, we would apply the day before but are limited by staff working Saturday.

  • We have experienced great growing conditions the last few days with the average soil temperature up to 11.6 degrees and plated growth rates ranging from 46 to 63kg DM/ha/day. Below shows how the growth rates have been tracking since the start of the season. With pasture covers continuing to increase we will have to be really proactive around stepping over paddocks and maintaining residuals, whilst ensuring the cows are fully fed.

Figure 1: Growth rates for each farmlet for 2020/2021 compared to 2019/2020 season


  • Observing cow behaviour and what they have been eating we have decided to increase their demand to 19kg DM/cow/day up from 18.5kg DM. We are concerned with the flat line we are currently seeing in the milk graphs and hope this will prevent any limitations for milk production.

Figure 2: Cows enjoying some sunshine


  • The contractor has been booked in to make baleage from the paddocks shut up last week. We have decided to bring paddock 28 back into the round for the LI Kale. The LI Kale feed wedge misrepresents how much feed they have due to post silage paddocks plating high, calves in one paddock, and another paddock already been grazed. We noticed that previous paddocks cut for baleage have been left with a high residual of around 1900 kg DM/ha cover. We will have to make sure the quality is not lost for the next grazing.
  • In some paddocks we will need to post graze mow (top) due to the previous round not hitting residuals and the cows unable to clean up clumps. This will reset the paddock residual to ensure quality for the next round.
  • We have gone through our thorough CIDR decision making process to determine which cows require intervention. This year we have 189 cows that had not cycled by the 28th October compared to 277 cows last year. The CIDRs program will start on Tuesday next week which is day 3 of AB and with cidrs being taken out the following Monday. Our criteria for receiving a CIDR includes:
  • 42 days or greater post-calving
  • under 7 years of age
  • metritis cured
  • if a BCS issue relating to anoestrous then once a day implemented
  • health status
  • From our criteria we have 54 cows that will require CIDRs and table 3 below summarises:
  • 44 cows will get a CIDR only
  • 9 will get OAD and a CIDR
  • 1 cow needs a tumour removed and receive a CIDR
  • 11 cows OAD only with BCS issues and earlier calvers.

Table 3: Farmlet breakdown of cows to receive CIDRs

Row Labels CIDR OAD +CIDR CIDR + surgery Grand Total
Pink 10 1 1 12
Blue 6 2 8
Green 7 9
Yellow 10 1 11
Grand Total 33 4 1 40
  • There are 27 cows we will wait to see on Friday as they are at the end of the “should have cycled group” in good condition and no health issues. We have 98 cows marked for OAD, these are cows who haven’t cycled and have BCS off the camera under 4 or around 4 with a health issue etc.

General Notes:

  • The contractors have been in this week ploughing our 2nd year crop paddocks. We had a bit of rain over the weekend so it has taken some time for soil conditions to improve.
  • We have ordered another round of N fertiliser to be applied. This will be applied via helicopter so that there is no unnecessary paddock damage.
  • Our catch crop has really jumped out of the ground the last week. You can see in the image below that it is starting to show a bit more ground cover, though a bit patchy in places.

Figure 3: Catch-crop at the support block


  • The springer paddocks continue to grow so we will giving them a light grazing in the next couple of days and be spraying them shortly in preparation for planting.
  • Our effluent pond is sitting at 80% though not a lot of effluent has gone on this week due to equipment breakdowns.
  • Milk production has flat lined this week, especially in the Std. FB. This may be due to having to clean up clumpy paddocks that were not grazed well last round. We have increased feed eaten to 19kg DM for all farmlets and hope this will prevent any limitations to milk production.

Figure 4: Milk production kg MS/cow/day for each farmlet


  • Monitoring BCS has been very important in our lead up to mating and management decisions we have been making. Below gives a breakdown of our farmlets BCS from the BCS camera. It is split up between all milkers and 1st time calvers. We are implementing priority feeding and OAD milking to the lighter animals.

Figure 5: Herd BCS for all milkers

Figure 6: Herd BCs for 1st time calvers


  • The calf weights last week showed that the average gain/day was 0.6 kg. It was the same for both kale and FB calves. The calves at the support block average 68 kg and we will reweigh next week with the hope of starting weaning in 3 weeks time. All calves are now outside however we unfortunately had 2 calf deaths this week.

Animal Health

  • We have had a good week with minimal mastitis
  • A cow has had surgery to remove a tumour from its jaw

People Management and Visitors

  • Two of the team are continuing with the Primary ITO qualifications
  • The team had their first session of planning as part of the FarmTune process

Research on-farm

  • We had a visit from Plant and Food regarding the location of lysimeters on site to do leaching measurements from catch crops
  • Cows are being selected for applying GPS collars as part of a proof of concept project around remotely tracking paddock grazings.

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: