2021/22 Season HUB Weekly Farm Update as at 5th August 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

NOTE: Hatched paddocks are springer paddocks

Table 1: Key Herd Numbers 4/08/2021 – number of cows in each mob

DATE: 4 August 2021 Std Kale LI Kale Std FB LI FB Total
Cows on Farm 201 167 199 167 735
Current being milked 13 13 21 17 64
Springers 65 44 51 53 213
Dries 124 110 125 97 456
Slips/empty/deaths 2 1 3 1 7

Table 2: Key Weather and Feeding Numbers 5/08/2021

Soil temp (C) Weather station has gone down since 22 July so no weather to report
Rainfall (mm) 23 mm since the 23rd July
Allocations Kg DM/cow/day Std Kale LI Kale Std FB LI FB
Colostrum 15-16 kg pasture
Springers 3-5 kg pasture & 5-7 kg baleage
Dry cows Kale 11.8 kg DM/cow

Baleage 3.3 kg DM/cow
Kale 11.8 kg DM/cow

Baleage 3.3 kg DM/cow
Beet 10 kg DM/cow

Baleage 3.3 kg DM/cow
Beet 10 kg DM/cow

Baleage 3.3 kg DM/cow

Key Decisions: this week

  • We have completed our spring rotation planners and feed budgets for the calving period. Below shows how our actual average pasture cover is tracking next to our predicted. With above predicted growth rates this week ranging between 13-22kg DM/ha/day our graphs are looking good however we expect this to change quickly once we get into the peak of calving. and will potentially need to add in supplements in about the 20th August to the Std farmlets to bridge any deficits depending on what growth rates do.

Figure 1: Actual vs. predicted average pasture cover for each farmlet

 

  • Last week we altered feed allocations to minimise the amount of extra baleage going into the kale herds. This week we will also reduce the DM allocation to the late FB cows, mostly by removing fodder beet from their diet, due to them getting too fat. Over fat cows at calving can pose a risk to animal health through increased metabolic issues.
  • Today (5th Aug) is planned start of calving for the heifers and we already have 9% of the herd calved! This has meant an early and busy start for the team. So far we have 10 replacement calves, the first of which can be seen below:

Figure 2: First replacement calf for the season

 

  • We continue with our springer draft twice a week and this week have consolidated the mobs on crop. Each herd now have a mid-calving crop mob and then the lates for each crop type e.g. kale or fodder beet have been consolidated into 1 herd giving us 3 cow mobs and 1 R2 mob for each crop type.
  • Colostrums/milker mob being offered 100 m2 per cow per day pasture
  • Increased baleage allocation to springers as pre-graze cover and 20 m2/cow was not offering enough pasture, working on 1 bale per 40 animals in the 3 springer mobs
  • It is likely that calved cows will be split into colostrum and milker mobs on Monday as at the current rate of calving we will have at least 100 calved by then.
  • The next split into kale and fodder beet milkers will occur when we get 100 in the milker mob

General Notes:

  • Milkers and dry cows were BCS this week with springers to be done tomorrow. Overall we are happy with the results but will have to manage the lighter and fatter tail enders, with 10% kale and 15% FB cows at BCS 6 or above. As mentioned above we will cut back some of the FB allocation to the fat, later calving cows. The graph below shows the spread of BCS  in the dry cows still on crop across each farmlet; on average the dries average BCS 5.3-5.4 and the milkers BCS 4.7-4.9.

Figure 3: Dry cow BCS distribution across farmlet types

 

  • Our R1 heifer calves are going well, though this week they have started to leave some kale behind. With only 2 weeks left at the support block before heading to the grazier there is less concern around crop running out.
  • Some extra fencing has occurred on the farm which included around Vinny’s house where the septic field has been extended and alongside the Makarewa Tributary where the buffer zone has been increased in preparation for more riparian planting. With a new map needing to be made to account for a change around in farmlet paddocks, we will also redraw these areas and update the paddock areas following these fence changes.
  • Our first bobby calf pickup will be on Tuesday.

Animal Health

  • One R1 had to be visited by the vet due to having blisters between its toes. It has been treated and put out onto grass. The cause was unknown.
  • Mineral supplementation is key this time of year and our staff continue to be proactive with its daily use. Springers and colostrums are currently getting 50 g DCP and 50 g MgO dusted onto pasture daily. MgCl is also going through the water system.
  • After a run of down cows last week blood samples were collected on Thursday from animals in the springer mobs. Interestingly half had high Mg levels and the other half low but there was no trend with winter crop diet.
  • We had one cow death this week and will continue to keep a detailed record of the autopsy results as we have in previous seasons.

SDH Research/Demonstration

  • Our science tech team has been busy this week as they begin sampling SDH and the Hanning’s lysimeters as part of the Plant and Food catch crop study.
  • We are getting down to the last of the crop yielding and samples for quality determination.
  • It has been a busy week with BCS assessment of all cows. We will resume fortnightly BCS assessments this week to coincide with the first herd test on the 23rd/24th August.

Communication

People

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:

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