2020/21 Season HUB Weekly Farm Update as at 7th October 2021

Farmlet feed wedges and general information

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

Grey – – – – – – –  target line is for 30 day rotation with 18.5 kg DM pasture intake and no supplements

Table 1: Key Herd Numbers 07/10/2021 – number of cows in each mob

DATE: 7 Oct 2021 Std Kale LI Kale Std FB LI FB Total
Cows on Farm 199 163 197 163 722
Milkers 189 154 183 154 680
Colostrum/Sick 4 3 12 7 26
Springers 5 1 1 5 12
To be Culled 1 1 1 1 4
Slips/empty/deaths 2 3 12 3 20

General Farm Information

Table 2: Key Weather and Feeding Numbers 7th October 2021

Soil temp (C) 10.9°C
Rainfall (mm) 3.2 mm
Allocations Kg DM/cow/day Std Kale LI Kale Std FB LI FB
Milkers 18-19 kg DM
13 kg pasture
4 kg inshed + 2 kg baleage
18-19 kg DM
15-16 kg pasture 4-3 kg inshed
18-19 kg DM
14 kg pasture
(3 kg FB + 1.5 kg PKE and baleage as required)
18-19 kg DM
15 kg pasture
(3.5 kg FB + 1.5 kg PKE)
Colostrum 15-16kg DM
(11-12 kg DM pasture + 1.5 kg inshed + 3 kg baleage)
Springers 4-5 kg pasture & 5-6 kg baleage

Key Decisions: this week

  • We would all have to agree that the sun shining and some warmth behind it has been welcomed this week. We can already see the benefits from last week’s decision making along with increasing temperatures on our pasture growth rates and average pasture covers. 
  • Last week we decided to go to a 10n7 milking interval for a few weeks to allow cover to build in front of us, have enough time to ensure sufficient supplement was fed to keep cows well fet and be confident that conditions and weather had stabilised as we approach balance date.  
  • Implementing 10n7 has had its challenges with regards to pasture allocation and inshed feeding but the team are slowly putting systems in place and getting their head around the complexities of this milking frequency. The farm team has been basing their pasture allocation and paddock fencing on hours they are in the pdk between milkings. This is similar to what other farmers have been implementing which is a m2/hour area allocation of pasture.  
  • With minimal rain this week conditions on farm have improved resulting in better pasture utilisation and less reliance on supplementary feed. Looking forward we will be reducing the baleage fed as soon possible, hold the kale cows on a maximum of 3.5 kg inshed/milking (we found we cannot increase over this amount due to cows being unable to eat it all in one milking due to being a PKE: Barley mix), and hold 3kg DM FB (being wary we still have new calvers entering the herds).
  • As conditions on farm improve there will be a small window of opportunity to fix pugged damaged paddocks and undersow pastures that have lost density and have bare ground before weeds establish. This week the team will do a walk around each paddock and rank them based off this criteria and whether they need undersowing or just have a small area i.e. gateways and trough areas that need a rough up and hoof and tooth. 
  • This week we noticed a drop in Std. FB milk production and a higher % of cows less than BCS 4 and lowest average BCS of 4.5. With the transition to 10n7 there was an initial teething stage of adjusting the Kale farmlets inshed feeding and hence some left over feed was remaining in the bins. We feel perhaps the remaining PKE: Barley mix feed was finished off by FB cows increasing the risk of sub-clinical acidosis due to elevated starch in the diet combined with the sugar from the fodder beet. Now we have the correct systems in place we hope this will alleviate itself. Lighter animals will be monitored and hopefully the new milking frequency, better intake levels, and good weather will have them cycling strong and holding condition to mating.
  • On average BCS was 4.8 for Std. Kale, 4.7 for LI kale, 4.5 for Std FB and 4.6 for LI FB.
Figure 1: Milking Management Chart

Figure 1: BCS spread for each farmlet

General Notes:

  • From the graphs below you can see the impact the last week has had on our average pasture cover. Holding our round, reduced milking frequency, increased supplementary feed, warm weather and fertiliser have all assisted in achieving this outcome and we are feeling a bit more comfortable with our feed position.
Figure 1: Milking Management Chart

Figure 2: Average pasture cover for all farmlets this week

  • Many farmers around the region will be in a similar position to ourselves with just a few cows left to calve. We have x12 springers holding on and look forward to celebrating the last calf on the ground.
  • As a result of sending the R2’s off to grazing earlier we have been able to conserve X4 paddocks for baleage at the support block. With a round of N having been applied this should generate good quality for the calves as they transition onto more pasture.  
  • We will send another mob of calves to the support block Friday this week. Weather conditions make it easier to introduce calves outside and ensure they have the best chance.
  • We were lucky to reduce our effluent pond level from 81% to 73% using the umbilical this week. It was looking quite full and hopefully ground conditions will allow for regular paddock spreading going forward. We took the opportunity to spread the effluent onto some of our lower terrace paddocks that cannot be accessed with the current effluent infrastructure.
Figure 1: Milking Management Chart

Figure 3: Stirring the pond prior to spreading effluent via umbilical

  • All crop and springer paddocks have now been subsoiled.
  • Below shows pH and Olsen P soil test changes over the last 5 years since the farm was converted. Slowly pH range has become more condensed and slightly more acidic than immediately following the conversion. We are not seeing any negative effects of N fertiliser on pH between the Std and LI farmlets. Olsen P values have increased over time with the average now ranging between 25-40
Figure 1: Milking Management Chart

Figure 4: pH average change per farmlet over last 5 years

Figure 1: Milking Management Chart

Figure 5: Olsen P average change per farmlet over last 5 years

  • Below shows our milk production curves, highlighting the impact of the milking frequency change. Figure 6 is the actual pickup data and Figure 7 data has been smooth to a 24 hour production. The first figure shows the impact on kgMS from going OAD, back to TAD, then to 10n7.
Figure 1: Milking Management Chart

Figure 6: Impact of milking frequency changes on kg MS/cow/day

Figure 1: Milking Management Chart

Figure 7: Average daily MS/cow for each farmlet

Figure 1: Milking Management Chart

Figure 8: Season to date production comparison for all the herds

Animal Health

  • One Johnes cow was culled this week and a couple of lame cows are under treatment. 
  • Our herd SCC is sitting at 110,000 for the FB herds and 76,000 for the kale herds. We are happy with this considering the changing of milking frequencies and will continue with our policy of stripping one quarter each day.
  • X4 culls left the farm yesterday which included x1 from each farmlet. X3 were empty and x1 was a low producing heifer.

SDH Research/Demonstration

  • Next week is the first of our animal sampling events for the season. This will involve collecting feed, blood, urine, faeces and milk samples for N determination on Monday afternoon and Tues next week. The techs have been busy preparing for this, including labelling all the necessary containers (see photo below!!)
Figure 1: Milking Management Chart

Figure 9: printed labels ready to go onto containers for sampling 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:

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