2018/19 Season HUB Weekly Farm Update as at 30th May 2019

Table 1: Farmlet feed wedges and general information

*The blue dashed line is the target line without supplementary feeding

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

General Farm Information

Table 2: Key Numbers 30th May 2019

Kale Fodder beet
Soil temp (C) 8.7
Rainfall (mm) 15.8
Milker Intake Target (kg DM/cow) 12 during dry off, increasing to 14-15 on crop
  Last 8 days of lactation
Av. Kg MS/cow/day 0.95 (- 0.04) 0.91 (- 0.01)
Average milk fat (%) 6.74 (+ 0.04) 6.68 (+ 0.04)
Average milk prot (%) 5.12 (- 0.01) 5.22 (+ 0.01)
Average SCC (cells/ml) 208 (+ 5) 268 (+ 18)
Animal Summary Std Kale LI Kale Std FB LI FB
Pink Blue Green Yellow
Dries 148 145 159 134
R2’s 44 36 43 37

Key Decisions: this week

  • We will continue the crop transition plan with the aim of having Kale animals at their 11kg DM/cow/day by beginning of next week. FB will be at 10.6kg DM/cow/day by the end of next week.

Table 3: Average and target winter allocations

Average allocation for 1st week of transition (kg DM/cow/day) Std Kale
LI Kale
Std FB
Baleage/Hay 4.8 6.7 6.1 7
Crop 8.3 6.4 7.1 7.5
Target winter baleage 3.5 3.4 3.5 3.4
Target Crop 11 11.2 10.6 10.6
  • The baleage made at the support block will be brought over for the cows; the higher quality purchased baleage will be fed to the R1s over winter.
  • Good growth rates in the last week have set all the farm systems up well for the start of the 2019-20 season. The APC of the Std farmlets is still sitting above the LI farmlets however 1 paddock from the top of the wedge in each of the Std Kale and Std FB will be grazed by the large mob of R2’s until Monday.
  • The purchased R2s will start winter crop transitioning on Friday, the remainder R2s returning from grazier and will transition onto crop on Monday. The purchased R2s are beginning crop grazing earlier due to not having had any exposure to FB compared with our original R2s that were wintering on it last winter. The original R2s will be offered 1.6kg DM baleage/cow/day plus 9kg DM pasture/cow/day until Monday.
  • We are working with Campbell Water Design Ltd. and Rural Environmental Solutions to improve the efficiency of our effluent use and reduce the amount of effluent that is being generated.
  • All the mobs will be grazing crop paddocks on the lower terrace from Friday so that they are grazed off before conditions get too wet. If conditions become too wet before they are finished, we will shift them to the top terrace.
  • We are investigating options for the management of the R1s post 30th September due to the support block not being big enough for x191 replacements. Options include purchasing in feed or grazing off. One of the considerations we need to take into account is whether they are AI mated and what facilities are required for this and any research measurements if they are grazed off farm.
  • With the end of the season and cows all on winter crop we will be moving to fortnightly farm walks. This will also mean that our farm notes will only come out on a fortnightly basis over winter.

General Notes:

  • This week the x27 purchased R2s arrived on farm. They are quarantined separately from the other mobs for 7 days. Today the original R2s arrived from the grazier; they are being tagged, weighed and their bloods taken. All animals entering the herd are double tagged with one white tag and one coloured tag to represent the farm system they belong to. Using two tags minimises misreading during herd testing, body condition scoring, drafting etc.

Figure 1: Farm manager Charlie tagging one of the R2s


  • Continually monitoring the cows over the dry off period and keeping them away from the dairy shed.
  • The month of May crop yielding has been undertaken to finalise the winter feed budget and ensure correct supplements are on hand.
  • A baleage inventory has been completed and we are going through the process of finalising whether any more baleage is required for winter or spring.

Animal Health

  • The R2s have received their Lepto shot on arrival back to the farm.
  • X1 FB cow was removed off crop due to signs of acidosis. She was put onto pasture for a few days and has now been re-transitioned back onto crop.
  • Dicalcium phosphate loose lick is being offered to the FB cows in a trough in the paddock at approx. 90 gm/cow/day.

People Management and Visitors

  • SDRF Board meeting this week
  • We had a full team meeting on farm to discuss and increase the team’s understanding of the SDH structure, the vision, farm systems implementation, and aligned research projects. With all the different entities involved with SDH it is important that everyone working on farm understand why we do the things we do and what we are trying to achieve. A breakdown of the SDH ownership and management structure can be seen below:

Figure 2: SDH ownership and management structure

Research on-farm

  • Preparing to bleed the R2s tomorrow with their final stature measurements being completed when the wintering mobs are resorted following transition to crop. 
  • The 2018/2019 data is being finalised and undergoing quality control checking before being analysed and the key messages developed.
  • The final farm walk for the season was carried out today.

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 richard.kyte@southerndairyhub.co.nz

For more information check out the DairyNZ link: