2020/21 Season HUB Weekly Farm Update as at 1st April 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 01/04/2021 – percentage of the herd in each mob

DATE: 01 April 2021 Std Kale LI Kale Std FB LI FB Total
Current being milked 168 143 166 140 617
Milking TAD into vat 109 89 137 112 447
Milking OAD + priority feed 59 54 29 28 170
Sick/penos 1 4 6 1 12
Autumn culls 26 17 26 19 88

Table 2: Key Weather and Feeding Numbers 01/04/2021

Soil temp (C) 15.8
Rainfall (mm) 8.2
Allocations Kg DM/cow/day Std Kale LI Kale Std FB LI FB
Milkers 15.8 kg DM pasture
Priority feeding to continue to light cows
15.5 kg DM pasture
1.5 kg DM/cow/d
Baleage as required
16.8 kg DM pasture
Priority PKE for light cows = 0.2 kg/cow equiv.
Baleage as required
16.2 kg DM pasture
Priority PKE light cows = 0.3 kg/cow equiv.

Key Decisions: this week

  • With the change to OAD milking this week we have dropped back the in-shed feeding a bit compared to last week, this is only going to priority cows. We have reduced the number of cows getting priority PKE in the FB herds because we can more easily put condition on these cows over winter.
  • We are not expecting to need to feed much baleage this week based on how the feed wedges are looking for the farmlets. 
  • We are continuing to stagger the grazing of our 2021 springer paddocks with the remainder to be included in the grazing plan this week. Decision criteria for springer paddocks include:
    • Farmlet requirement for crop
    • Location
    • Season to date and historical DM production
    • FVI cultivar
    • Flood risk 

Two paddocks are on the lower terrace but these are considered of the lowest risk for flooding from the Makarewa. 

  • We are currently on a ~39 day rotation offering mainly pasture diets. This is equal to 1.5 or 2 days per paddock. Last week we set up a system to calculate the pre-grazing pasture mass needed for each herd to graze a paddock for 1.5 days or 2 days based on current numbers in the herd and target pasture allocation. Cow numbers in herds are quite changeable at this time of year with culls leaving and some cows being dried off and we want to make sure that we are not over or underfeeding. We have shared with the farm team so they have this on hand when setting up the next paddocks to be grazed.
  • Some paddocks will only be grazed over 1 day (e.g. springer paddocks) due to their pasture masses not quite being enough for 1.5 days per paddock. Some of these paddocks have a long number of days since the last grazing and don’t seem to be growing very quickly.
  • We are planning to use the dry cow mob (of 14 cows) to follow the main herds and graze a small area at the back of paddocks whose pasture mass is above the target line on the feed wedge or have a higher pre-graze pasture mass for the 1.5 or 2 days of grazing planned.
  • The weather looks like it might get wet from Tuesday next week, we have taken this into consideration with our grazing plan and will be avoiding grazing any wet paddocks on the bottom terrace when the weather is wet. 
  • The fertiliser truck was on farm on Thurs 8th April putting on the last round of fertiliser to the remaining pasture paddocks, that is it for the season now. 
  • We have put together our baleage placement plan for our crop paddocks using our latest crop yields to help us predict what the yields might be at grazing so that we get the daily allocation of baleage matching our feed plan as best as we can. One of the challenges we have is the variation in DM per bale with the baleage we have on hand because it has been purchased from different places. 

General Notes:

  • If you haven’t received our weekly notes via email over the past couple of weeks (we have had some technical issues), you can find these on our website https://www.southerndairyhub.co.nz/weekly-data/
  • As decided last week: all cows went onto OAD milking as of Wed 7th April, 14 cows were dried off on Friday 2nd April, and 5 culls left the farm on Wed 7th April. 
  • Paddock 99 in the Std Kale farmlet was cut for conservation and 8 bales were made. A further 13 bales were made at the support block. 
  • The team have topped four paddocks this week to tidy them up post grazing these were mainly new grass paddocks.
  • The calves we kept back at the support block were weighed and drenched on Wednesday and are looking really good, Billy and the team have been doing a great job. Their average liveweight is 193.5 kg (range from 152 to 227 kg) and an average daily gain of 1.18 kg. There are 5 calves under 160 kg but they had good growth rates and we are keeping an eye on them. 

Figure 1: Our calves at the support block weighed this week.

 

  • Milk production is trending downwards, we think this could be due to lower dry matter pasture with high protein levels with extended strong autumn growth. The tech team have been out taking some samples to test for dry matter today to confirm whether this is the case. 

Figure 2: kgMS/cow/day from 20th March farmlet comparison

 

  • All herds are continuing to track ahead of target for APC based on our autumn feed budget with less supplement required so far this autumn. The dip in the Std Kale herd is due to baleage being harvested this week from one of their paddocks.

Figure 3: APC relative to autumn feed budget

Animal Health

  • We still have a constant rotation of cows through our lame mob which sits around 10 animals. Some cows come out and some go in. We are hoping that the change to OAD will help us see less lameness.
  • This week we have had the vet out for one cow with black mastitis, one cow seen with an upper respiratory infection and the cow with bloat has had her vent removed today by the vet. 

People Management and Visitors

  • After their BCS training last week, Tash and Billy have their BCS assessment coming up next week.
  • We currently have Vinnie doing his PiTO Level 5 and Vinny the PiTO Milk quality module. 

SDH Research

  • With the Easter break and Southland Anniversary Day it has been a short week for the technical team on farm. They are currently preparing for our upcoming animal sampling and next lot of crop yielding in the week of the 19th of April. 

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