2018/19 Season HUB Weekly Farm Update as at 9th May 2019

Table 1: Farmlet feed wedges and general information

*The blue dashed line is the target line without supplementary feeding

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

General Farm Information

Table 2: Key Numbers 9th May 2019

Kale Fodder beet
Soil temp (C) 10.3
Rainfall (mm) 6.8
Milker Intake Target (kg DM/cow) 16.0
Av. Kg MS/cow/day 1.13 (- 0.03) 1.06 (+ 0.01)
Average milk fat (%) 6.39 (+ 0.04) 6.46 (+ 0.27)
Average milk prot (%) 5.05 (+ 0.01) 5.10 (+ 0.02)
Average SCC (cells/ml) 207 (+ 9) 204 (+ 13)
Animal Summary Std Kale LI Kale Std FB LI FB
Pink Blue Green Yellow
Milkers – OAD 155 151 159 139
Other/Penos 4 2 9 0
DRY 1 1

Key Decisions: this week

  • This week the average pasture cover (APC) has dropped to or below Autumn feed budget target, especially in the LI farmlets. To protect APC for dry off a series of actions need to take place. These include identifying potential cull animals from the final scan next week and positively tested Johnes cows, hold the target 40 day round by using extra supplement to meet target intake, continue to implement 2 days grazing per paddock and organise drying the herd off mid-May.
  • With not many weeks left to hit our 1 June APC target of 2000 kg DM for the Std herds and 2100 kg DM for the LI farmlets it was decided that the whole herd should be dried off around the 20th May. The vets will be contacted to arrange a date they can teat seal and dry cow the herd. Yards at the R2s will be assessed to determine whether they can be teat sealed their or need to be brought home to do so.
  • Fodder beet transitioning continues to the Std and LI fodder beet herds of which are now at approximately 3kg DM/cow/day. This amount will increase by 1 kg DM every second day up to 5kg DM/cow/day. Beet is fed out through the silage wagon daily once all the cows have returned from milking. There has been quite a bit of soil attached to the lifted fodder beet so weights have had to be adjusted to account for this when feeding out.
  • R1s have transitioning well onto FB and are happily eating into the bulbs. They are grazing under a wire from the adjacent pasture paddock where they are receiving baleage and a small amount of pasture.

Figure 1: R1’s transitioning onto fodder beet at the support block

General Notes:

  • The farm walk this week was completed with a heavy dew on the pasture which we attribute the lower than expected growth rates to. Using our visual assessments the estimated growth rate was between 20 and 30 kg DM/day across the farmlets
  • All herds are achieving good post grazing residuals. We noted that the pastures are beginning to open up, showing more bare ground post grazing. There is very little dead material in the base of the pastures and all the annual grasses and weeds have disappeared. Clover is still present but the plants are getting smaller.
  • Pre-graze covers are now 2700kg DM/ha.
  • Currently completing a silage inventory for all the herds/classes of stock to make sure we have sufficient supplement on hand for autumn, winter and spring. Baleage made on the farmlets is to stay within that farm system so we are working through each farmlet making sure sufficient bales are held for spring. Additional baleage is purchased for winter.
  • Discretional culling from each herd will be based off: Johnes status, production (heifers < 200kg MS and MA cows <280kg MS), mastitis treatments through the season (x3 strikes or x2 strikes if Staph), lameness and udders.

Animal Health

  • Whole herd Johnes milk test results have come back. It was identified that there are x15 strong positive, x4 positives and x7 suspect Johnes cows. We are currently working through the herd implications of culling these animals to minimise further spread through the herd. Once we get through drying off a Johnes management plan will be developed with the vets. If culled additional replacement heifers will need to be purchased to ensure correct replacement rates for next season. You can read more about Johnes disease and management here: https://www.dairynz.co.nz/animal/cow-health/johnes-disease/
  • X2 cows were treated for lameness this week. The majority of cases being treated are for stone bruising. The laneways adjacent to the dairy have become quite wet and mucky in the last month.

People Management and Visitors

  • This week we had the Farmer Reference Group meeting. The topics of discussion were winter management on crop, mitigations for a wet winter, and spring and springer management plus the development of systems for spring.
  • Uere’s PITO course participants visited.
  • We farewelled Hub Business Manager Guy Michaels this week. Guy has been with SDH for 2 years and has been instrumental in setting up the farm and completing the development phase of the Southern Dairy Hub. We wish him all the best with his new ventures. Richard Kyte will be filling in 3 days a week until a new Business Hub Manager is employed.

Research on-farm

  • The AgR autumn grazed and lifted N leaching plots in pdk 52 were grazed this week. The plots were grazed over 2 days because of the yield in each plot and the cows only currently at 3 kg DM/cow/day allocation. FB was previously lifted from the gateway to the plots to provide an access way to get the cows in.
  • The final N intake measurements for this season were completed at the beginning of this week.

Figure 3: Autumn grazed N leaching plots in pdk 52. Photo on the right is a lifted plot

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 richard.kyte@southerndairyhub.co.nz

For more information check out the DairyNZ link:

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