2020/21 Season HUB Weekly Farm Update as at 4th March 2021

Table 1: Farmlet feed wedges and general information

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

Table 1: Key Herd Numbers 4/3/2021 – percentage of the herd in each mob

DATE: 4th Mar 2021 Std Kale LI Kale Std FB LI FB Total
Current being milked 195 160 191 158 704
Milking TAD into vat 128 92 118 108 446
Milking OAD into vat 63 65 53 38 219
Sick/penos 4 3 5 4 16

Table 2: Key Weather and Feeding Numbers 4/3/2021

Soil temp (C) 18.2
Rainfall (mm) 4.8
Allocations Kg DM/cow/day Std Kale LI Kale Std FB LI FB
Milkers 16.5 kg DM pasture
1.0 kg DM/cow/d inshed feeding
15 kg DM pasture
2.5 kg DM/cow/d
Baleage as required
16.5 kg DM pasture
Priority PKE for light cows = 0.5 kg/cow equiv.
1kg DM/cow/d baleage
15 kg DM pasture
Priority PKE light cows = 0.6 kg/cow equiv.
1.5 kg DM/cow/d baleage

Key Decisions: this week

  • Increase pasture allocation to all herds based on lift in pasture covers following better growth rates this week
  • Reduced inshed feeding to Std and LI Kale herds to match feed deficit from pasture – offering 0.5 kg/cow to Std Kale and 1.5 kg/cow to LI Kale plus BCS management cows still on priority feeding. Baleage unlikely for these herds this week
  • Less baleage require for FB herds this week based on covers; baleage feeding decisions based on residual assessments after each grazing; BCS management cows still on priority feeding of PKE inshed
  • Continuing with final round of N fertiliser across all farmlets – Std farmlets at 25 kg N/ha as Ammo31; LI farmlets at 15 kg N/ha as a special ammo brew to match sulphate inputs across the systems. Targeting 7 kg sulphate/ha
  • The discretionary cull list for all herds has been completed now that pregnancy recheck scans have been completed. We are really pleased with the final pregnancy results for the farm (Table 3).

Table 3: Fertility focus report numbers for each herd

Std Kale LI Kale Std FB LI FB
3 wk submission rate (%) 92 91 85 93
6 week in calf rate (%) 74 74 68 70
Not in calf rate (%) 7.5 7.5 11 9
  • x6 cows (x2 Std Kale, x2 LI Kale, x2 LI FB) identified as potential Johnes from milk tests will be blood tested to confirm status
  • the first lot of 25 culls will leave the farm on Tuesday next week. The first round of culls are the lowest producing empties and discretionary culls from each herd. More culls will go from the FB herds to reduce the demand for baleage until the fodder beet is ready for grazing.
  • Cows in the BCS management groups for each farmlet have been reassessed based on final scanning results. Priority feeding and OAD will be targeted to cows that will be in the herds next season to ensure we achieve the required BCS targets at dry off and calving.
  • Autumn feed budgets are being updated on a weekly basis with actual growth rates, supplement fed and average pasture cover. APC is currently sitting 1-200 kg DM/ha above the initial budget due to better pasture growth rates than the conservative numbers used in the budget. This will allow us to reduce the amount of supplement required now and save this till later in the season.

General Notes:

  • Milk production has responded positively to the increase in supplementary feeding last week (Figure 1). Interestingly the response has been higher in the kale farmlets receiving inshed feeding compared with the fodder beet farmlets where baleage has been the main supplement. Differences in supplement quality and utilisation are likely driving these differences highlighting the importance of making good quality baleage/silage if that is the only source of supplementary fed for summer

Figure 1: Daily milksolids/cow production for the last 2 weeks


  • The difference in season to date production between kale and fodder beet herds continues to widen (Figure 2).

Figure 2: Cumulative MS production per hectare season to date


  • It is nice to see average summer pasture growth exceeding last year, although the differential between the Std and LI farmlets has been bigger this season than last (Figure 3). At Woodlands late February growth was similar to last season (Figure 4).

Figure 3: Average monthly pasture growth for each farmlet

Figure 4: Woodlands pasture growth rate summary


  • We have seen a lift in average BCS this week and a reduction in the number of animals below BCS 4 (Figure 5). There is currently a 0-0.2 BCS difference in average BCS between the physical assessment and the camera with the camera giving the higher average.

Figure 5: BCS distribution by farmlet


  • The empty R2’s have returned home to the support block and are currently cleaning up behind the calves
  • The calves out at grazing were weighed this week – They currently average 164 kg and have been growing at 0.7 kg/day. One animal has been marked for observation as she has had low growth rates for the last 3 measurements.
  • We have finally managed to plant out the last sections in a couple of ex crop paddocks at the support block. These were low lying areas in the paddock that have taken a long time to dry out and be prepared for sowing

Figure 6: Tractor work at the support block


  • All the big pens in the calf sheds have been cleaned out and the material will be moved over to the support block to be incorporated into crop paddocks next spring
  • PGGW and Ravensdown have been on farm this week assessing our new pastures and soil in these paddocks as we try to get to the bottom of the strong urine patching we are seeing particularly in the first couple of years. Pasture and clover samples have been collected for nutrient analysis
    • PGGW looked at the nodules on the clover and have identified the presence of clover root weevil (Figure 7)
    • Ravensdown did some visual soil assessments identifying compaction in the top few centimetres of the profile (Figure 8) noting the differences between samples taken from the fenceline vs in the paddock.

Figure 7: clover nodules and clover root weevil larvae

Figure 8: Soil profile from B8 fenceline (left) and paddock (right)

Animal Health

  • It has been a quiet week on the farm for animal health this week so long may it continue.

People Management and Visitors

  • Our SDH field day is next week – 10th March so don’t forget to book it into your calendar!
  • As part of the lean management process the shadow board in the workshop has been painted and about half the tools put up

Research on-farm

  • A sneak peak at some of the behaviour results from the winter study last year. The results will be discussed in detail at the field day next 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: