2018/19 Season HUB Weekly Farm Update as at 31st January 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 31st January 2019

Kale Fodder beet
Soil temp (C) 16.3
Rainfall (mm) 12
Milker Intake Target (kg DM/cow) 17
Av. Kg MS/cow/day (##incl staph cows) 1.5 1.5
Average milk fat (%) 5.00 5.08
Average milk prot (%) 4.08 4.05
Average SCC (cells/ml) 160 131
Animal Summary Std Kale LI Kale Std FB LI FB
Pink Blue Green Yellow
Milkers – TAD 172 162 154 140
Milkers – OAD 15 7 29 14
Other/Penos 2 2 5 4

Key Decisions: this week

  • Average pasture cover (APC) continued to increase this week with a delay in stepping over paddocks for conservation. With pre-graze covers being well above target on the LI Kale, LI FB and Std FB farmlets and cows having to go back into paddocks for up to 12 extra hours to achieve target residuals we have been more aggressive in taking out paddocks for conservation this week.
  • LI Kale x4 (18%), LI FB x3 (14%) and Std FB x4 (18%) paddocks have been identified for conservation with the plan that these paddocks will be mown within the next 48 hours (once the southerly front blows through!). Std Kale farmlet is not in surplus
  • 1x LIFB and 1x Std FB will be topped
  • 1x runout short rotation paddock in the Std Kale farmlet has been sprayed out for regrassing. It will be allowed to die off completely before surface working and reseeding with perennial ryegrass and white clover. Direct drilling was considered, however this paddock was used to run cows on and off during transitioning to crop in winter 2017 and sustained mild pugging damage. 
  • The remainder of the Std Kale and Std FB paddocks will receive 25 kg N/ha. This week 15x Std Kale and 12x Std FB paddocks received N

General Notes:

  • The capital fertiliser applications described last week have been delayed for a couple of weeks to allow all the N to be applied first. Initially the N for the Std farmlets was going to be included with the capital fertiliser. However, with 4 different capital rates and no N required on the LI farmlets it became too much of a logistical challenge to complete everything together. The risk of the wrong product being applied to a paddock was deemed too high so the decision was made to separate the N and capital fertiliser applications.
  • Kale paddocks appear to have recovered from the setback they received following the spray to control the redshank.
  • Most crop paddocks are at the point of out-competing the weeds although the redshank and pineapple weed are still evident across parts of several paddocks
  • Nitrogen (as N protect) has been ordered for the crop paddocks as described last week – this was recommended on by our reps a fortnight ago and its hoped the delay won’t have a large impact on yields, weather conditions have delayed the helicopter but it’s meant to be here within the next few days.
  • The MA cows had their pregnancy scan on Friday last week (results below). Some cows were culled before scanning and several were not mated because they will be culled at the end of the season hence the difference between cows at PSM and cows scanned)


Table 3: Pregnancy scan results – estimated 6 week in calf rate

Std Kale LI Kale Std FB LI FB
Cows in herd at PSM 194 173 190 164
Cows scanned 189 170 188 158
Confirmed in calf 144 136 150 114
6 week ICR (% of cows at scanning) 76 80 80 72
6 week ICR (% of cows at PSM) 74 79 79 70

2 paddocks on the support block are due to be sprayed out for regrassing. The original intention was to re-grass this block through the winter cropping programme however on further inspection of the pasture composition it was agreed that we need to increase the rate of regrassing. The old pastures on this block are impacting the quality of feed being offered to our R1’s and as the R2’s are being grazed off this block we can’t use them as a tool within the system to tidy up longer feed. So, any extra re-grassing we can do on top of new grass after winter crops will help. These paddocks will be fully cultivated and sown out in a short rotation tetraploid cultivar from PGGWrightson Seeds called Delish with a white clover. This is meant to last 4-5 years and provide good quality feed.

Delish AR1 Superstrike 25kg/ha

Quartz Superstrike 5kg/ha


  • With the heat across the region on Tues, Wed and Thu and noticing the cows congregating around the water trough we did regular checks on all herds to make sure they didn’t run out of water.

The Std Kale herd hanging out around the water trough on Wednesday at 11.30 am

Animal Health

  • X6 calves on the milking platform are consuming approximate 2 kg pellets/day (half a bag). One of these calves is showing signs of photosensitisation and will have the affected areas treated with zinc.
  • X46 lighter calves at the support block have been receiving 1.6 kg/day but this has been increased to 2.2 kg/calf/day today.
  • 1x poor conditioned mixed age cow has come back negative for Johnes.

People Management

  • Upskilling of the farm team in the use of the rising plate meter was undertaken on farm this week. To achieve more consistent feeding levels and residuals across the 4 farms every paddock will be plated by the farm team when the cows come out from their last grazing. To ensure consistency of data collection we are aiming to get all staff on farm (farm and research) regularly calibrating their plating technique and visual assessments against each other.

Farm team working on the finer details of using a rising plate meter.

Research on-farm

  • Baleage core samples have been collected from about 75% of the baleage batches (individual paddocks from each farm) and sent for analysis, with the remainder scheduled for completion once we have finalised the bale storage plan for lactating and winter bales for each farmlet. Baleage made on a farmlet can only be fed back to cows in that farm system.
  • AgResearch had 2 big days on farm this week installing 348 ceramic cups in their measurement plots for winter 2019. LIFB Paddock 52 has 48 plots of winter crop planted within the trial area to allow measurements of N leaching to be determined from fodder beet and kale treatments on the same soil type.
  • Following the FB being established in the paddock the kale plots were identified, the FB plants removed and kale hand sown. Growth on these kale plots is significantly behind the full kale paddocks on the farm.
  • Cows from one kale herd will be used to graze the kale plots, in a single grazing during the winter grazing period, to ensure the urine being deposited on the soil represents a full kale grazing system.

Installed ceramic cup                             drilling the holes

Kale plots within the fodder beet paddock

Rows of ceramic cups within the kale and fodder beet plots

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