2018/19 Season HUB Weekly Farm Update as at 6th September 2018

General Farm Information

Table 1: Key Numbers 6th September

Milking Platform average
Soil temp (C) 7.1
Rainfall (mls) 8
Av. Pasture Cover (kg DM/ha) Cannot report
Pasture Growth rate (kg DM/ha/day) 25 (plated data from 21 paddocks)
No. of cows milking 535
Av. Kg MS/cow/day 1.7
Average milk fat (%) 4.88
Average milk prot (%) 3.73
Average SCC 135,000
Milker Intake Target (kg DM/cow) 16.5 kg DM total
Colostrum Intake Target (kg DM/cow) 14.5 kg DM pasture
Springer Intake Target (kg DM/cow) 10 kg total (baleage, hay & pasture

Table 2: Animal Summary by farmlet

Std Kale LI Kale Std FB LI FB Units
Pink Blue Green Yellow
Animal Summary
Milkers – TAD 141 125 134 116 cows
Colostrum 9 8 6 7 cows
Springers 9 16 19 18 cows
Sick mob 8 10 12 6 cows
Dries on crop/baleage 28 18 22 17 cows
% of heifer replacements selected 100 100 94 98

Table 3: Feed Summary by farmlet

Std Kale LI Kale Std FB LI FB Units
Pink Blue Green Yellow
Paste Summary
Average pasture cover - - - - kg DM
Growth Rate 23 21 31 23 kgDM/d
Area grazed (season to date) 38 41 38 37 ha
Target milker intake for this week 7-13 September
Pasture 9.7 9.7 10 11 kg DM/cow
PKE:Barley Blend 1.8 1.8 kg DM/cow
Fodder beet ha
Baleage 5 5 6.5 5.5 ha
Cows on Crop
Kale (kg DM/cow) kg DM/cow
Fodder beet (kg DM/cow) 7 7 kg DM/cow
Baleage (kg DM/cow) 12 12 4 4 kg DM/cow
  • * unable to use the C-dax this week so growth rates are estimated from approximately 5 paddocks/farmlet that have been plated regularly in the last week

No feed wedges this week sorry – (flat tyre on the Ranger and connection issues with the c-dax screen )

Key Decisions: this week

  • Rotation will be slowed on all farmlets, with the LI farmlets to be held a bit tighter
  • A second vehicle will be setup to run the c-dax pasture meter to ensure we can complete this each week as the data is key to the decision making for each herd; we will also reassess the option of walking the farm with a plate meter
  • Baleage will be offered to all farmlets based on the pasture deficit for each herd. Up to 5 kg DM/cow per day with careful monitoring of residuals to ensure pasture is not being wasted
  • All remaining fodder beet will be lifted on Monday; 30 T DM will be kept as milker supplement for the Std and LI FB herds to reduce baleage supplementation, with the remainder being sold
  • Dry cows from the fodder beet farmlets and R1’s will be used to clean up beet leaf and any residual bulb following harvesting
  • Continue with N applications once per week following the cows until all paddocks have received their first application
  • Ground work on 2018 crop paddocks will commence next week
  • R1’s from the fodder beet herds will return to the support block next week to join the kale R1’s.

General Notes:

  • Area used on each farmlet is now close to or slightly more than the SRP
  • Failure to complete the c-dax assessment of the farm this week has added more stress to feeding decisions this week. Paddocks at the top of each wedge were plated to estimate pasture availability.
  • LI herds only have 6-7 paddocks remaining until the end of the first rotation with several of these still only at 2100-2200 kg DM/ha – consequently baleage has been added to hold the area allocation with the aim of finishing the first rotation around 20th September. We only have one spring N fertiliser application in the plan so cannot use N to grow ourselves out of a deficit 
  • Std herds have 9 un-grazed paddocks and more of these paddocks close to pre-graze mass.  Supplement will be used to hold the area allocation for 1 more week.
  • Kale dries have been cleaning up behind the colostrums where required, with the remainder of the time being offered baleage in a grass paddocks previously grazed by the springers
  • A DM test will be completed on the fodder beet bulb to determine the tonnes of fresh weight required to be kept
  • The first mob of 65 calves have gone outside this week – all received their 7 in 1 vaccination at weighing and measuring today
  • We have identified 3 additional areas for calves to be managed before they go off to the support block after weaning, to keep them off the milking platform. Rotating them around the farmlets would be logistically challenging and impact on pasture growth assessments. 
  • The base rock has been laid for the yards on the support block and a builder is organised to lay concrete in what will be the crush pen and race. The Te Pari yards are due down here to assemble by the end of this month, hopefully in time for heifer mating.

Animal Health

  • Results of blood samples taken from downer cows have been received and show low P levels. 10 of the 12 down cows have been from fodder beet herds. P supplementation has been more challenging as the number of dry cows reduces.
  • All cows are receiving MgO and limeflour in the colostrum mob
  • New cows with a SCC > 200, 000 at each herd test will continue to have bacto samples collected to understand the extent of the Staph aureus issue in the herd
  • Before we start feeding fodder beet to the milkers the farm team will establish a protocol to ensure all cows go back to their right herd following each milking
  • All R1’s will receive copper, selenium and B12 due to low levels detected in samples collected a couple of weeks ago

People Management

  • We look forward to welcoming Bakura Beiatau on board the farm team.
  • We have been using a tractor driver paid on an hourly basis to help with feeding out which has taken some of the workload off the farm team.

Research on-farm

  • Paperwork is being completed to get a supplier number for each vat so we can complete more detailed milk composition analysis on herd level milk i.e. Std and LI fodder beet herds will be milked into one vat and the kale cows into the second vat

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 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/