2020/21 Season HUB Weekly Farm Update as at 6th May 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

NB: Hatched bars are 2021 springer paddocks.

Table 1: Key Herd Numbers 6/05/2021 – number of cows in each mob

DATE: 6 May 2021 Std Kale LI Kale Std FB LI FB Total
Current being milked 145 130 155 134 564
Sick/penos 4 5 4 6 19
Dries 21 10 7 4 42
Autumn culls 28 19 30 20 97

*milking number still includes culls that are leaving Friday this week

Table 2: Key Weather and Feeding Numbers 6/5/2021

Soil temp (C) 10.0
Rainfall (mm) 47.8
Allocations Kg DM/cow/day Std Kale LI Kale Std FB LI FB
Milkers 14.0 kg DM pasture
Inshed feeding = 3 kg DM/cow/day equivalent
14.0 kg DM pasture
Inshed feeding = 3 kg DM/cow/day equivalent
15.0 kg DM pasture
2 kg DM fodder beet plus
14.5 kg DM pasture
2 kg DM fodder beet plus

Key Decisions: this week

  • Although our soil temperature has continued to slowly drop down to 10 degrees the last month, a bit of extra sunshine and some moisture has kept our growth rates up between 30-40kg DM/ha. This is still below feed demand and hence we continue to monitor our APC and add in supplements where required. The Std FB farmlet is posing the biggest challenge with APC at the moment as it is still tracking high; our challenge this week is to try and bring down their cover. When the heifers return next week we will send them to a Std. FB paddock first to graze and also use dry mobs to graze/clean up Std. FB paddocks. Despite the two LI farmlet APC being below the target with culls and drying off this week feed demand will be reduced and we should be back on track.

Figure 1:  Autumn feed budget tracking against the plan


  • We have noticed that milk production has taken a hit every time the cows go in to graze new grass paddocks. This week we have decided to alternate grazing the new grass paddocks with another paddock so that the cows do not spend a prolonged period of time grazing just new grass. Hopefully this will dilute the impact on milk production and keep it consistent.
  • The next round of cows will be dried off on Monday. We will dry off 88 cows (39 LI Kale, 12 Std FB, 27 Std. Kale, 10 LI FB). The criteria for this round is cows that require between 0.3 to 0.6 BCS gain between now and 1st June or cows producing less than 5 litres milk. This will leave us with 461 cows still in milk, minus the remaining 51 cows still to be culled, leaving 444 cows for next season.

Figure 2: Cows being dried off


  • Our springer paddocks have gained a lot of cover since their final grazing. We will use our dry cows to give them a light grazing to take the weight out. This will ensure better quality feed next season for springers to return to and less opportunity for them to go completely rank should we get growth over winter again.
  • We need to finish opening up the front of our crop paddocks. We will use the heifers to open these paddocks as part of their transition onto crop. The dried off kale cows can also use these opened areas as part of their dry off transition.
  • We continue to shift baleage around farm into crop and springer paddocks. We hope to have all crop baleage set out next week.

General Notes:

  • We have a total of 51 culls still on farm, including 20 culls leaving on Friday. We are still awaiting our milk pregnancy test results which will firm up which culls will be leaving from the remaining. Of the 20 culls leaving Friday, there are x4 LI FB, x3 Std. FB, x5 Std. kale, and x8 LI kale.
  • On transitioning our FB cows onto crop we realised that there was a bit of competition in one of the paddocks. We decided to move the mob to a larger crop face; this gave the animals all a chance to find a spot to eat.
  • The LI kale mob milk production had a bit of a shock this week and we are still uncertain as to why they crashed. They did graze some longer rotationpaddocks however these were not of poor enough quality to warrant the drop.

Figure 3: kg MS/cow/day from farmlet comparison

Figure 4: Weekly average milksolids production for each farmlet (kg MS/cow/day)

Figure 5: Cumulative MS/ha for this season compared with 2019-20


  • In preparation for wintering we have been finalising our winter crop paddock grazing plans. To ensure all information for the paddock is in the one place we are putting together a winter grazing resource that will be printed on water proof paper so it is a good field guide (example below)

Figure 6: Crop paddock management plan


  • This week our young stock (including R2s) all got some attention with statures and weights measured. We will have the collated results next week. The R2s will return on farm next Friday, receive Cu bolus and a short acting Se injection, before being teat sealed and transitioned on the 17th May to crop.

Figure 7: Young stock statures and weights underway


  • We have set up permanent wire fences with waratahs in our crop paddocks. This will make winter management easier and have the reliability of a more solid fence line to work with.

Animal Health

  • The same weekly update regarding the status of lames and mastitis cows. We have a few lame cows and had to treat x6 cows for mastitis (x4 FB and x2 kale).
  • Dusting of DCP continues on the new pasture breaks to FB herds.

People Management and Visitors

Research on-farm

  • As we get closer to winter the science team are involved in a number of presentations to farmers and rural professionals sharing results from recent research at SDH. This has or will involve presentations at DairyNZ farmers forum, Otago wintering day; MPI wintering workshops for rural professionals and the LUDF focus day.

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: