2018/19 Season HUB Weekly Farm Update as at 30th August 2018

General Farm Information

Table 1: Key Numbers 23rd August

Milking Platform average
Soil temp (C) 7.1
Rainfall (mls) 7
Av. Pasture Cover (kg DM/ha) 2013
Pasture Growth rate (kg DM/ha/day) 16
No. of cows milking 498
Av. Kg MS/cow/day 1.7
Milker Intake Target (kg DM/cow) 14 kg DM pasture + 2-3 supplement
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 111 97 114 94 cows
Colostrum 22 20 22 18 cows
Springers 24 24 30 33 cows
Sick mob 9 10 9 6 cows
Dries on crop 34 20 25 20 cows
% of heifer replacements selected 100 91 86 95 calves

Table 3: Feed Summary by farmlet

Std Kale LI Kale Std FB LI FB Units
Pink Blue Green Yellow
Paste Summary
Average pasture cover 2080 1927 2049 2000 kg DM
Growth Rate 16 13 16 20 kgDM/d
Area grazed (season to date) 27.1 27.6 27.8 23.5 ha
Target milker intake for this week
Pasture 14.2 14.2 16 16 kg DM/cow
PKE:Barley Blend 1.8 1.8 kg DM/cow
Fodder beet ha
Baleage ha
Cows on Crop
Kale (kg DM/cow) kg DM/cow
Fodder beet (kg DM/cow) 8.1 8.1 kg DM/cow
Baleage (kg DM/cow) 12 12 3.9 3.9 kg DM/cow

NB: The target lines on these wedges are incorrect. Current area allocation is being determined from the spring rotation planner

Key Decisions: this week

  • Milkers will be tail painted this week
  • Calves will be weighed this Friday with the heaviest x30 going out onto grass.
  • An engineer will be on farm this week to modify the yards so that handling is easier.
  • All springers will be combined this week
  • Supplements will be fed to ensure that the area allocation recommended by the SRP is achieved and residuals do not go below 1500-1600 kg DM/ha.
  • A contractor will be brought in to lift excess fodder beet so that it can be stored and fed out as a supplement to FB cows.

General Notes:

  • Milking cows were BCS this week. Std Kale av. BCS 4.7, and the rest averaged BCS 4.8. This was significantly lower than the BCS 5.1 measured 2 weeks ago which we attribute to the now higher proportion of milkers compared with colostrum cows in the herds this week.
  • Cows at BCS less than 4.0 will be milked OAD but will remain in their herds (see distribution above).
  • Kale farmlets have now reached 25% heifer replacements but a few more are still required from the fodder beet farmlets. The target of 25% replacement is to ensure we have 23% replacements entering the herds as R2s.
  • Nitrogen is being applied this week and will continue on a weekly basis for one rotation of the farm at this stage. Standard farmlet paddocks will receive 30 units of N vs. 25 units of N on the low impact farmlet paddocks. Nitrogen is being applied as Ammo31
  • Springers are now at a number suitable to run as one mob.
  • We are continuing to have challenges with the estimates of pasture mass, with a high proportion of ungrazed paddocks coming back with lower mass estimates than the previous week. Many of the paddocks have very uneven cover and we are having to drive slightly different tracks across the paddocks each week to avoid the areas that were driven over in previous weeks.  Visually there appears to more pasture in the paddocks at the top of the wedge but that is not what the C-Dax Rapid Pasture Meter measurements are reporting. We will continue to assess post grazing residuals and cow behaviour as alternative indicators of pasture allocation.
  • Supplements will be increased this week to achieve target APC and area allocated by SRP. Kale cows will receive increased in-shed feed allocation to 2kg DM/cow/day and additional baleage, whilst fodder beet cows will receive lifted fodder beet fed out by the wagon at 2kg/cow/day.
  • Pasture quality results have come back between 12.4-12.7 MJME/kg DM with a DM% between 19 and 24%. This pasture quality is significantly higher that the pasture being offered at the same time last year. Also, last season we were grazing autumn saved pasture post conversion that had a very low clover composition that took till summer to establish.

Animal Health

  • Farm team will have a meeting this week around animal health treatments, recordings etc.
  • A copper and selenium deficiency has been identified in both mobs of R1’s. A supplement plan will be developed with the vets.
  • All R1’s will be vaccinated and treated next week.

People Management

  • New staff member will commence work on the 10th September
  • A tractor driver has been temporarily employed to help with feeding out.

Research on-farm

  • Calf measurements are on-going
  • We are currently in discussions with Fonterra around the collection of milk for more detailed milk composition analysis. If this goes ahead we will milk the Std and LI Kale herds into one vat and the Std and LI fodder beet into a second vat.
  • AgResearch are continuing with the leaching measurements from the kale and crop paddocks. Samples are taken after each 25 mm of rainfall.

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: