2020/21 Season HUB Weekly Farm Update as at 3rd December 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

NOTES: Hatched bars are paddocks that have been stepped over for conservation

Table 1: Key Herd Numbers 2/12/2020 – percentage of the herd in each mob

DATE: 2nd Dec 2020 Std Kale LI Kale Std FB LI FB Total
Current Herd Numbers 196 163 194 163 716
Milking TAD into vat 169 135 162 140 606
Milking OAD into vat 24 21 24 18 87
Sick/penos 3 7 8 5 23

Table 2: Key Weather and Feeding Numbers 2/12/2020

Soil temp (C) 16.1
Rainfall (mm) 17.8
Allocations Kg DM/cow/day Std Kale LI Kale Std FB LI FB
Milkers 16.5 kg pasture + 1.5 kg inshed 17.5 kg DM pasture + 1 kg inshed 18.5 kg DM pasture + baleage if required 18.5 kg DM pasture + baleage if required

Key Decisions: this week

  • In-shed feeding has been increased to 2 kg DM/cow/day to the Std Kale herd as the wedge is still indicating a short term feed deficit in the next week and on average 1.1 kg DM/cow/day baleage was fed out last week. Baleage will continue to be offered as required based on the feed remaining after the first 15 hours in the paddock.
  • Start inshed feeding to the LI kale herd at 1 kg DM/cow/day as the wedge is indicating a shortfall this week.
  • Continue to top up Std and LI FB herds with baleage after the morning milking if required. Likely to be 1 bale/day (1.1 kg DM/cow) to the Std FB.
  • Several paddocks in the grazing round this week have been earmarked for post graze topping to reset residuals and remove seedhead.
  • N protect will continue at 25 kg N/ha onto the Std farmlets and early next week we will start the 2nd round application to the LI farmlets with15 kg N/ha as N protect being applied to all LI paddocks at the bottom of the wedge and those that will be grazed before Monday.
  • Calves are due for weighing again tomorrow with the expectation that another 40-50 will start the weaning process.
  • Pdk 99 in the Std kale herd that was stepped over for baleage last week will have half grazed by the cows and the other half conserved. We are holding out for a break in the weather to get the 0.5 x Std Kale; 2x LI kale and 2x LI FB paddocks conserved.
  • First weed spray of new grass paddocks, remainder will be done as the reach the right maturity
  • Vet check cows that have not been mated – x3 Std Kale, x2 LI Kale, x7 Std FB and x3 LI FB
  • Planned scanning dates for the R2’s and cows so we can get accurate pregnancy dates to minimise the risk of cows calving on crop next spring.

General Notes:

  • Still 1 paddock of fodder beet on the milking platform left to be planted and 2 kale paddocks. Ground work has been done on 2/3rds of the crop paddocks at the support block. Still waiting on the right weather conditions to spray off the oats and get it harvested.
  • Maintaining milk production across all farmlets continues to be a challenge as the paddocks are in full heading. The range in cultivars across the farmlets creates an additional level of complexity with pasture management. The low FVI cultivars are more difficult to maintain quality in than the high FVI cultivars due to different heading characteristics.

Figure 1: Milk production kg MS/cow/week for each farmlet


  • The LI Kale herd has just caught up with the LI FB herd in season to date milk solids production (Figure 2).

Figure 2: Milk production kg MS/cow season to date for each farmlet


  • Baleage has been required to all herds at least once during the week, but more to the kale herds than fodder beet hence decisions around inshed feeding for both kale herds.
  • Despite at least 60% of the LI paddocks having been topped or conserved this spring managing seeding is a constant challenge

Table 3: Grazing area available and proportion of each farm topped or conserved this season

Grazing area available Topped Conserved
Pink 56.5 15% 22%
Blue 57.7 24% 29%
Green 57.8 35% 15%
Li FB 60.9 20% 29%
  • The Std FB herd is still lagging behind the other herds in submission rate (Figure 3), but early indications are that the LI FB herd has a poorer incalf rate

Figure 3: Herd submission rate


  • We are starting to see the divergence in monthly pasture growth rate between the Std and LI farmlets again this season (Figure 4) but are hoping that growth will hold through December unlike last season.

Figure 4: Average monthly growth rate for the four farmlets

Animal Health

  • We are continuing to get 2-3 cases of lameness per herd per week with all being white line issues.
  • No mastitis cases this week but high SCC cows from this weeks herd test will be stripped and checked
  • X1 LI FB cow is being dried off due to a significant teat end damage and ongoing mastitis.
  • X1 LI FB cow will be culled due to significant ongoing lameness
  • All herds are averaging 4.1 to 4.2 BCS (Figure 5) with 8-9% of animals from each on priority treatment (OAD milking or OAD milking with inshed feeding) due to low BCS (Figure 6)

Figure 5: Average herd body condition score

Figure 6: Body condition score distribution for the four herds

People Management and Visitors

  • Rural Delivery will be onsite next week to do an update on activities on the Hub and reflections 3 years on from when the initial episode was made. You can check out the first episode at Home | Rural Delivery

Research on-farm

  • We are still waiting on the direct drill and conventionally cultivated kale comparison to be established and are hoping for a break in the weather to get this done this week.

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: