Monday, 20 January 2020


Week ending 20-1-20 farm notes:

20-1-20 data

21-1-20 wedge

With only 5.6mm of rain since the rainfall event on the 20th Dec we are feeling fairly crisp at the farm. APC has dropped to 1897 kgDM/ha with a low growth rate of 15kgDM/ha/day.

The 3 in 2 milking routine and feed allocation has become a fairly easy routine now. Everyone is enjoying being away from the shed during the hottest parts of the day.  This combined with sprinklers on the yard, access to shade during the day, and access to water troughs in the races has helped alleviate the stress of the hot week we have had.

We have recorded daily highs of around 24-29C and around 11-15C at night.  This is well over the comfort zone for a cow at 4-20C. 

Feeding for the last week has been approx. 6kgDM grass, 5kgDM grass silage, 4kgDM crop and 2kgDM PKE total of 17kgDM allocated.

This week we will be starting to feed our one paddock of deferred grazing.  We are planning to offer the big herd of 240 cows 2.5kgDM per day (based on a 1800kgDM residual), 5kg grass silage, 4kg crop and 2kg PKE up to 4.5kg pasture = 18kgDM.

The smaller herd will receive the same total but with 7kgDM pasture.  The feed wedge is looking tight this week but we will maintain a 37 day round and the cows will receive whatever pasture is available in that area allocation with the aim to feed between 16-18kgDM total diet.

We have had 6 cull cows leave the farm and another 30 are booked for early and mid-Feb. We still have 3 weeks of turnip crop and another 2 weeks of kale crop based on current feeding levels.

We will hold the current feeding and milking system until we carryout PD and BCS.

Time saved in reduced milking is being used by feeding out and shifting cows throughout the day. 

On our farm walk we identified 2 paddocks and another 4 paddocks with small patches that have YBG that requires spraying.  After close inspection there were only a few seed head.  These paddocks will be grazed shortly and then sprayed after grazing with Dockstar.

Monday, 13 January 2020


13-1-20 data

14-1-20 wedge

Week ending 13-1-20 farm notes:

  • Tom has been processing the farm walk data for the last two weeks while Jo was away, so this week Jo and Malou were in charge while Tom took a well-earned break. The APC of 2034 is higher than last week, partly due to the difference between operators across the summer break and the fact that the pasture eaten was around 26 kg DM/ha/day. With a growth rate recorded of 41 kg DM/ha/day this is an accumulation of cover over the week of around 13 kg DM/ha/day. 
  • There is more dry matter available in these dry summer paddocks than you would guess from the pasture height alone, although the plate meter picks it up as it records a compressed height.
  • The longer rotation over the last week with cows fully transitioned onto crops has ensured paddocks are cleaned out and given more time for regrowth.
  • We baled 3.5ha of hay last week which produced 42 big squares of beautiful quality hay which is all stacked nicely in the shed.
  • Everyone is settling into a 3-in-2 milking rhythm after a week of the new system.
  • 5am milking is followed by grass and grass silage and then crop at 10am. The cows stay on crop until the 6pm milking and then go to their paddock for the night with silage. At 6am the cows go onto crop until their 11am milking then they head off to the paddock with silage again until their next 5am milking.
  • Last week we grazed 3.77 ha/day with pre-grazing between 2300-2500 kg DM/ha. Averaged over the 48 hours, cows are getting between 8-9 kg DM grass, 4 kg DM grass silage and 4 kg DM crop. Total diet approx. 17 kg DM/cow/day.
  • FEI grade has now dropped to an A again after struggling last week with C grades. PKE was removed completely from the diet until returning to an A grade, and introduced again today at very low levels. Hopefully with the cows now transitioned onto the crops and the new milking frequency we can slowly increase the PKE levels again up to 2 kg/cow/day and remain within an FEI A or B grade.
  • Thorough planning and having clear systems in place has meant everyone has had a chance to get a good break off the farm - including Tom who is making the most of the beautiful weather wakeboarding in Mangakino this week!

Monday, 6 January 2020


data 6-1-20

Week ending 6-1-20 farm notes:

Welcome to a new decade folks!! I hope 2020 has started off well for you all. Starting off pretty dry here at Owl Farm for those of you that had rain for your Christmas present I’m just a little jealous haha. I’m not sure I’m enjoying this strong drying wind at the moment!! Despite another dropin cover and growth rates we have our plans in place and are remaining optimistic.

Last week we discussed a transition onto 3in2; this was begun over the weekend. Although everyone (cows and myself that is!!) is a little unsure of what’s going on we haven’t seen any negative effects just yet.

We are milking 5am, 6pm and 11am to fit in around feeding crops and allowing walking times etc. We have upped the feed allocation slightly, over the 48hr window they will receive 36 kg DM total (2x18-18.5kg DM) consisting of 3.2 kg PK, 8-9 kg crop (turnips), 6 kg grass silage and 18 kg grass. The cows seem pretty content with this so far. FEI level has had a sharp increase now we are into the turnips so we have dialled back the PK for the next week until it is back in a B grade, then we will build it back up again and reduce the silage. Last year 2.4 kg PK was about the limit for us.
Cows are now fully onto crops after 9 days, currently eating 4 kg of turnips per day. We have had one case of scald so far; so the cow has been removed and put with the small lame/sick mob (7cows) and coated with zinc on her sore bits. This group is only getting about 1.5 kg turnips per day along with PK, silage and grass.

After 1 cycle of tanker pickups we have seen a slight lift in production to 1.64 kg MS/cow/day but expect this to level off over the coming week as the cows settle into the new regime.

As I mentioned before cover has dropped to an APC of 1943 kg DM/ha and growth rate is down to 29 kg DM/ha/day. With our current diet on average offering of 9 kg grass per day this is a demand of 27 kg D/ha/day (400 cows) over the grazeable area (136 ha) so slightly below the current growth rate. It puts us out to about a 40-day (3.4 ha/day) round aiming for pre-graze covers of between 26-2700 kg DM/ha. This growth rate is well below budget but we will use the levers we currently have to continue milking into February.
With very little rain in December and none so far or in the forecast in January we have made our plan to continue on with current feeding levels. We have at least another round of grazing for the 9 kg of grass and allocations at 6 kg/day we have 80+days of silage for all 400 cows (if we cull we will make it last longer!) PK is contracted so we have 60 days available and we have about 43 days of turnips at 4 kg/day so still in a strong position despite our soil moisture level (see photo) being the lowest it has been in 12months! I guess the key message is take a moment to see what is in your pantry and make a plan for the coming months.

Cheers Tom

Monday, 30 December 2019


31-12-19 data

Week ending 31-12-19 farm notes:

Owl Farm Update
Apologies for the brief update, but due to IT issues I am unable to access the necessary data. Hopefully we will be up and running again next week.

APC 2039KgDM/ha
Growth 39KgDM/ha/day
Production 1.58KgMS/cow/day
Feeding 16kg grass 1.5kg PK.

Covers have dropped again the past week with demand exceeding growth rates, we will start to transition the cows onto crops tomorrow starting with 1.5kg turnips/cow and building up to 5kg over a week.
The wedge shows a deficit coming so as we transition onto the crops we will also be slowing down the round to 30days from the current 23. (I will attach a copy of the wedge ASAP)

With no rain over the past week and none forecast for the coming week we believe this to be a safe decision.
Production has held nicely at 1.58kgMS for another week. Similar to last year which is pleasing.

PK has been offered on the race leaving the cowshed and cows have eaten only 1.5kg on average per day.

With 220ton grass silage in the stack, 100ton PKL remaining on contract, 100-120 crop and hay yet to be made we are confident we are still in a good position.

At this stage we will continue to milk TAD but are open to changing our milking frequency if we need to, last year we brought the afternoon milking forward so we could feed crops silage and PK (easy to eat feeds) in the morning then the cows had longer to eat grass overnight. We saw very little production loss by doing this. Another strategy would be to use 3in2 milking. Watch this space…..

From all of us at Owl farm we hope you have had a wonderful Christmas and managed some time off farm with family and friends, and wish you all a Happy New Year. All the best for what 2020 brings.

Monday, 23 December 2019


Week ending 23-12-19 farm notes:

23-12-19 data table

23-12-19 wedge

  • APC has remained fairly static this week at 2144 kgDM/ha despite PGR only being 44 kgDM/ha/day. This is due to our strategy of using silage and PKE to slow the round down for a short period as we grazed our highly productive cocksfoot paddocks.
  • We fed 2 kgDM/cow of baleage and another 3kgDM of PKE/cow for 5 days as the rough weather came through.
  • We have managed to ensile the last remaining silage (4.4ha) and we have 5ha of hay/deferred grazing still shut up.
  • Based on the residuals the cows are starting to leave we are targeting 17 kgDM/cow allocation on all grass with pre-grazing covers of 2650 kgDM/ha. This is to produce 1.5kgMS/cow, walk up to 4 km a day and maintain liveweight. We will allocate 6 ha day and reduce this area if needed as the turnips come into the diet.
  • Yields of our early crops on the sand soils are around 10 tDM at present and we are planning to start grazing both the early paddocks on the 30th There are some signs of leaf miner and we will look at doing a spray in the new year on the late sown turnips.
  • 2 cows were culled this week and our current stocking rate on the available grazing area is 3 cows/ha. This will make our demand in the coming week 52 kgDM/ha.  We expect to grow more than this after the rain we have had and will use this extra feed to lengthen the rotation through January.
  • We have 65 cows on OAD amongst both the herds (still walking twice a day to the shed). Still getting new cases of mastitis another 2 this week.  However we are pleased with the consistently lower SCC than last year.
  • Mating is over. Pregnancy scan showed a 6 week in-calf rate of 74% (similar to last season) and 80 cows will be re-checked in mid-Feb. We will have a look at the results on more detail after the holidays.

Tuesday, 17 December 2019


16-12-19 wedge

17-12-19 data table

Week ending 16/12/19 farm notes:

  • APC has lifted this week to 2139 kgDM/ha. PGR was 59kgDM/ha which was higher than our demand this week. 
  • We have 11ha shut up for silage and hay. The silage is due to be cut this week and the 3.5ha of hay will be done in mid-Jan. This leaves 125ha in our grazing rotation.  404 cows on this area creates a short-term stocking rate of 3.2 cows/ha. 
  • 2c/ha x 16kgDM pasture x 22 day rotation plus 1500kgDM/ha residual gives us a pre-grazing target of 2630kgDM/ha. We decided to hold our area allocation at 6-6.5ha/day and fill the gap with 2kg PKE/cow/day. Without the PKE we would’ve needed 2770kgDM/ha pre-graze cover which we didn’t have available last week.
  • Based on the recent farmwalk we have decided to feed 3kg DM PKE and 3kg DM silage along with up to 12kg pasture over the next 2.5 days as we move through 3 cocksfoot paddocks with lots of good quality feed. This effectively gives us another 125kgDM on next weeks’ paddocks which should allow us to reduce or cease PKE again if we get decent growth (over 60kgDM/ha) after this rain.  That will fill the hole we have at the top of the wedge before we start to feed turnips. We are still targeting 18kgDM/cow/day allocation
  • Mg supplementation and bloat oil stopped in early Dec with only Selenium and Cobalt going through the dosatron.
  • We have 65 cows on OAD in the smaller herd.
  • Mating is nearly over. Pregnancy scan will happen on Thursday to identify 6 week in-calf rate. This will be followed up with a scan mid Feb.
  • We found 2 new cases of mastitis this morning which explains the increase in SCC to 122 from 114. We also have 2 new cases of lame cows after 3 weeks without any new ones. 
  • This week we met up with our Vet to start the Healthy Hoof consult along with a review of spring metabolics. We looked at the number of lame cows and the treatment and diagnosis before devising a plan to systematically look at pre-disposing factors. This included a review of facilities and history of infrastructure changes. The first 2 actions we are undertaking is to get a whiteboard at the lame cow station to accurately record the cause of lameness.  We have numbers drafted as lame (120) and numbers treated with antibiotics (17) but are missing some data of what type of lameness. The second action is to set up a go-pro to record footage of cow flow and behaviour in the yard during milking.  This will be done over multiple milkings to see whether cows are under pressure in the yard.
  • Kyle and Sophia from PGGW Seeds have done early yield assessments on the trial paddock #3 which was planted 20th Estimates of yields are Toto 10tDM, Barkant 8tDM and Clean crop bulb 7tDM (this is late maturing and expected to yield similar amounts by grazing time).  This equates to 120-170kgDM/ha/day growth rate!  Other than removing a strip for demonstration purposes early - this crop is not due to be grazed until end of Jan.
  • The remaining 12 calves have been set stocked on the farm and our replacement calves at grazing have been weighed upon arrival. Average was 135kg with less than 2% underweight. 
  • The R2 heifers have also been weighed with an improvement from 13% to 3.5% underweight. Their average weight was 374kg.  The bull will leave the mob on the 20th Dec and they will be pregnancy scanned in early Feb.
  • Over the next 4-5 weeks we are managing time off for everyone. This was the last week with everyone at work together so we took the time over a nice lunch to enjoy getting to know more about each other, what we are involved in and what we enjoy outside of work. It was also a chance to show gratitude for everyone’s contribution in the team.
  • The effluent pond has been emptied over the last 3 weeks to minimise work on the farm over the break. We have also got the silage wagon in working order before the mechanics shut down for Xmas, and completed work on race access to water troughs. Priorities over the next month include spending time with loved ones, milking cows, farmwalks, putting up break fences, and setting up systems for crop feeding.

Tuesday, 10 December 2019


Week ending 9-12-19 farm notes:

9-12-19 data table

9-12-19 wedge

  • The rain we had hoped for has only been 9mls on the 3rd and another 9mls on Sunday. Soil moisture levels are back down to 29% VWC
  • APC has dropped to 2077 kg DM/ha with PGR of 51 kgDM/ha/day. The big drop in cover can be explained by growth being less than our daily demand (53 kgDM/ha/day). We also removed 40tDM as silage this week.
  • We don’t expect the growth rate to increase to meet demand over the next few weeks until we get more rain.
  • It is too late to feed out our hay paddocks which we require for springer cows and drying cows off so we will have a grazing platform of 132ha until the crops start in the first week of January. This gives us a stocking rate of 3 cows/ha with planned intake around 18kgDM/cow/day.  We want to hold the area allocation at 6ha/day (22 day rotation) so require pre-grazing covers of 2700 kgDM/ha.  Our feed wedge shows that we have a few days at this rate and then residuals will dictate if we need to fill a deficit with PK which we still have in the bunker.
  • Calves left the farm last week and 2 cull cows are due to leave the farm next week. Our 2 bull calves have gone today to raise funds for IHC and Rural Support Trust.
  • DON’T FORGET TO DO YOUR NAIT TRANSFERS.
  • The early turnips will get yield assessments later this month to plan feed allocation and again once we have established feeding levels to capture accurate yield and cost assessments.
  • We have had all cows individually BCS with the average being 4.4. This is well within the industry target of >85% of cows BCS 4 or greater.  We have 9 cows at BCS 3.5 which are all now on OAD within their herd.
  • We have 47 cows on OAD already and have identified another 24 cows that are 2 and 3 year olds that are currently BCS 4. We need a minimum of 150 cows to make an OAD herd to reduce the extra walk to the shed. This can be done by combining the remaining 2 and 3 year olds. The other option is to milk 3 times in 2 days.  We are exploring the options with the goal to implement a change in milking frequency by Xmas.
  • Continuing to monitor leaf miner damage and presence of white butterfly. No spraying required this week but Tom is vigilant with his twice weekly monitoring.
  • We have 9 days of mating to go. We still haven’t started the countdown to Xmas yet!!
  • We have been using the DairyNZ resources found in the HR toolkit and online to carryout self-reviews for the team. These are part of their performance review which also identifies further training needs.
  • We spent time at our local discussion group today to learn from other farmers and share ideas on managing the next 6-8 weeks. It always provides thoughtful discussion on the drive home as we reflect on our own system choices and challenge our current thinking.
  • Now is a good time to take stock of all the factors available to manage throughout the summer period. Manage and monitor crops, analyse herd test data for SCC and potential culls, discuss options for milking frequency, collect BCS data, carry out a feed inventory.  Having a plan in place means we can enjoy the summer time with friends and family knowing we are doing the best with the information we have got.
  • We are looking forward to our team lunch on Thursday to celebrate and show gratitude for all the hard mahi (work) that has gone into the season to date.

Tuesday, 3 December 2019


Week ending 2-12-19 farm notes:

  • This week has all been about planning for the summer. Collecting information so that we know what levers we have to pull depending on how the summer goes.
  • As I write this we have had 9mm fall so far this afternoon and we are hoping for some more.
  • PGR took a dive this week down to 56 kgDM/ha/day. The heavier clay soils have slowed significantly with topsoil hardening and cracks appearing.
  • APC dropped to 2269 kgDM/ha this week without any paddocks being cut for silage. We have definitely eaten more than we have grown this week.  The calves add another 3kg DM/ha to our daily demand.
  • After todays’ farmwalk and with the rain predicted, we are still comfortable to have 4.4ha shut up for hay. This is set aside for springer cows and used for drying cows off in the autumn.
  • We also have 11.3ha of surplus feed that will be cut tomorrow. This drops our grazing area to 120ha and a gives us a 20 day rotation until the end of Dec. We are targeting 18kgDM/cow/day allocation.
  • We will then use the turnips (with silage or PKE if needed) to push out to a 35-40 day rotation through summer.
  • We are individually condition scoring the cows this afternoon to give us data that enables robust decisions around milking frequency and preferential feeding during the summer. OAD is an option for the young/lighter herd before Xmas if needed.
  • We have herd tested and prepared a list of culls so that we have options to reduce demand if needed before our crops are available.
  • Starting to monitor leaf miner damage and presence of white butterfly. No spraying required this week but Tom is vigilant with his twice weekly monitoring.
  • We have 15 days of mating to go. We haven’t started the countdown to Xmas yet!!
  • The calves left the farm today at an average weight of 135kg. They have been weaned off milk and meal for 10 days.  The remaining 12 calves averaged 115kg and are being weaned shortly and will remain at home until May.
  • Teaching systems for our summer holiday vet student/relief milker has been going well. It is great to have support through the summer and to cover our time off with consistent capable help. We are also learning a thing or two about animal health while we share knowledge about farm systems.
  • Jobs on farm at the moment include keeping on top of weeds and checking power on fences. We are using a fence tester for optimum voltage levels and replacing broken insulators, so that we have maximum fence security when we start to feed the crops.
  • Early December is a good time to take stock of all the factors available to manage throughout the summer period. Manage and monitor crops, analyse herd test data for SCC and potential culls, discuss options for milking frequency, collect BCS data, carry out a feed inventory.  Having a plan in place means we can enjoy the summer time with friends and family knowing we are doing the best with the information we have got.

2-12-19 data table

3-12-19 wedge

Tuesday, 26 November 2019


25-11-19 data table

 26-11-19 wedge

Week ending 25-11-19 farm notes:

Tuesday, 19 November 2019


Week ending 18-11-19 farm notes:

  • Growth rates have risen again to 81 kgDM/ha/day and pushed cover up to 2241 kgDM/ha.
  • Another 25.4mm of rain fell last week helping to prop up grass growth. Some seed head is definitely starting to appear in the pastures so we are making sure we hit residuals as close to 1500 as often as possible while maintaining good intakes to the cows.
  • PKE was removed from the diet on Thursday last week as we felt that we could feed the cows full on grass only diet again. We don’t want to be creating a surplus where possible so by removing it we have been able to keep up with grass growth and keep the wedge under control.
  • Production has held nicely this week above 1.8kgms/cow/day.
  • 5ha of the crop was sprayed this week for bugs and grass weeds and 150kg/ha of sustain applied as they are all nearly at the canopy closure stage. The remaining 3ha isn’t far behind and will receive the same treatment this week. Warm wet conditions have lead to some great growth in the crops so they are looking really good heading into summer. The sooner we can reach canopy the sooner we can shut out any further grass weed germination and also conserve any moisture that is in the soil.
  • It is still important to monitor crops twice weekly to observe potential damage from Argentine stem weevil, leaf miner, slugs, springtail and greasy cutworm. Due to proactive action, plant numbers are still looking very strong in all of the paddocks.
  • We have now just finished week 7 of AB and will be switching to SGL dairy for the last 5 weeks. We are still getting returns but this is to be expected, but numbers are low ranging from 2-5 cows/day. Looking back in the calendar this is comparative to numbers mated 17-24 days ago. Weekly touch up of the paint is important especially as it starts to warm up and more active tail flicking increases the rate of paint loss! Heat patches are replaced 24hrs after the cows are mated to act as a second aid to heat detection.
  • To reduce fatigue we have been rotating staff who are picking the bulling cows while we milk in the mornings along with paddock checks in the evenings.
  • 36 calves from the remaining 48 calves on milk have now been weaned and will be joining the other weaned mob this week. We will send 100 calves to grazing at the end of November.
  • Feeding levels past week:
  • Milkers: 18.75 kg DM grass

 

 

19-11-19 wedge

 

18-11-19 data table

Tuesday, 12 November 2019


Week ending 11-11-19 farm notes:

  • Growth rates are down this week to 68kg DM/ha/day. Average pasture cover is also down at 2074kg DM/ha, with silage paddocks back in the rotation (almost ready to graze again) a total grazing area of 136.3 ha (excluding the 11.5ha of crop area).
  • We have had 14.6mm of rain over the last 3 weeks, average soil temperature has jumped from 14.9 to 16.3oC, and soil moisture dropped as low as 27% before the rain at the weekend and has only risen back to 31% now. The last time soil moisture has been that low was 20th February 2019.
  • A decision was made last week to eat the paddocks that were ear marked for silage to extend the rotation for 1 herd, and to commence feeding some PK in trailers on the race. This has been fed on average at a rate of 1.8kg/cow/day for the past 5days. This has held us on the current round of 20days and topped up feeding to an allocation of 18.75kgdm/cow/day. This will likely continue until we see another spike in growth rates. Currently with a demand of 52kgdm/ha and growth of 68 we should see this taken away by next week growth continues.
  • Some key points we have used to make the decision on feeding/removing PK.
    • Feed out potential surplus areas
    • Stop pre mowing so we can see genuine residuals
    • Use PK to maintain intakes at 18kgdm/cow/day
    • Maintain roundlength at current 20-22days
    • Cease feeding PK if residuals rise above 1650
  • The paddocks harvested for silage have bounced back better than predicted and filled up the feed wedge nicely, and we will likely to eat through them over the next few days. We are happy with good quality feed ahead of the cows for the next 3 weeks.
  • Production is just under 1.84kg MS/cow/day. Cows have been busy at work now averaging 212kgMS/cow so far this lactation.
  • Individual BCS was carried out by our certified BCS vet again. The herd averaged 4.4 with heifers averaging 4.6.  Nine cows were identified as having a BCS under 4 (they are all being monitored or are already on OAD milking). This is within the industry target of >85% of the herd being 4+ at mating.
  • It is still important to monitor crops twice weekly to observe potential damage from Argentine stem weevil, leaf miner, slugs, springtail and greasy cutworm. Due to proactive action, plant numbers are still looking very strong in these earlier paddocks.
  • After todays walk we have made the deciscion to spray for grass weeds in 3 paddocks that are getting close to canopy closure, we will also be adding some Sheriff to take out a population of Greasy Cutworm. Some Leaf minor is present but not a large enough amount of damage yet to spray.
  • A side dressing of Sustain will also be applied to these paddocks 250kg/ha on the Turnips and 1st dose of 150kg/ha for the Kale paddocks (2nd dose in the new year).
  • With the latest dose of rain will boost clover growth so be aware of potential bloat issues. BLOAT OIL is now at moderate dose rate (14ml/cow/day) via the Dosatron. Please be on the look-out, this is a good opportunity for some in-paddock training with staff while doing paddock checks for those of you still doing AB mating.
  • Seed heads are starting to emerge in the paddocks so it is important to maintain focus on feed allocation and residual management. We are aiming to leave 3-4cm height in the paddocks through grazing (or mowing) to maximise regrowth and minimise evapotranspiration.
  • We have now completed a full lap of the mowing on the farm. We wont use the mower unless we have from now on. Any long paddocks that are surplus can be made into silage, but PK will be removed so that we aren’t feeding PK and making silage as this is uneconomical to do so.
  • We have just finished week 6 on AB, returns are really slowing now. Looking like we have a 57% conception rate for week 1-3. An improvement from last years 50%. Still early days so we will see when we get to week 9.
  • 85 R2 heifers were weighed on the 4th November, averaging 333 kg which is 18kg above target for this time. 11 heifers are under target and 6 of those require weight gains of 0.75 kg/day until PSC to reach target. The mob has averaged 0.87 kg/day since the last weighing on the 30th  This information is useful when planning feed strategies with the grazier, especially if they are to remain in one mob. One bull has been removed from the mob to prevent boredom and in house fighting.
  • Last mob of calves should be weanable next week. 100 will be sent off to grazing at the end of the month the tail end 12 will be staying on farm.
  • Feeding levels past week:
    • Milkers: 18 kg DM grass and 1.8kg DM of PK

11-11-19 data table

11-11-19 wedge

Tuesday, 5 November 2019


5-11-19 data table

5-11-19 wedge

 

Week ending 4-11-19 farm notes:

  • Growth rates are up again this week to 84kg DM/ha/day. Average pasture cover is on the increase to 2101kg DM/ha, with silage paddocks back in the rotation and a grazing area of 136.3 ha.
  • We have had 1.8 mm of rain over the last 2 weeks, average soil temperature has jumped from 14.9 to 16.3oC, and soil moisture has dropped to 31%. The last time soil moisture has been that low was 20th April 2019.
  • We have potentially earmarked another 2.4 ha for silage that will be cut if we get rain within the week. The last of the Sustain 25K was applied last week and we only have another 10 ha to do which will finish all fertiliser applications for the spring.
  • The paddocks harvested for silage have bounced back better than predicted and filled up the predicted deficit in the feed wedge nicely. We are happy with good quality feed ahead of the cows for the next 3 weeks.
  • Production is just under 1.9kg MS/cow/day. Cows have been busy at work now averaging 200kgMS/cow so far this lactation.
  • Individual BCS was carried out by our certified BCS vet again. The herd averaged 4.4 with heifers averaging 4.6.  Nine cows were identified as having a BCS under 4 (they are all being monitored or are already on OAD milking). This is within the industry target of >85% of the herd being 4+ at mating.
  • It is still important to monitor crops twice weekly to observe potential damage from Argentine stem weevil, leaf miner, slugs, springtail and greasy cutworm. Due to proactive action, plant numbers are still looking very strong in these earlier paddocks.
  • Another dose of rain will boost clover growth so be aware of potential bloat issues. BLOAT OIL is now at moderate dose rate (14ml/cow/day) via the Dosatron. Please be on the look-out, this is a good opportunity for some in-paddock training with staff while doing paddock checks for mating.
  • Seed heads are starting to emerge in the paddocks so it is important to maintain focus on feed allocation and residual management. We are aiming to leave 3-4cm height in the paddocks through grazing (or mowing) to maximise regrowth and minimise evapotranspiration.
  • 85 R2 heifers were weighed on the 4th November, averaging 333 kg which is 18kg above target for this time. Eleven heifers are under target and 6 of those require weight gains of 0.75 kg/day until PSC to reach target. The mob has averaged 0.87 kg/day since the last weighing on the 30th  This information is useful when planning feed strategies with the grazier, especially if they are to remain in one mob. One bull has been removed from the mob to prevent boredom and in house fighting.
  • Cows feel hot 10-15oC sooner than we do and we notice they are starting to seek shade during the day. Offering 5m2/cow shade area is ideal and ensuring that more than 100L water/cow/day is available to ensure intake and milk production is maintained during the hot days.  Sprinklers have been started in the shed since the weekend for cow comfort. Daytime highs of 26oC and night-time lows of 9oC have resulted in average temperatures around 14oC and relative humidity levels are still low around the low 40%.
  • Feeding levels past week:
    • Milkers: 18.75 kg DM grass
  • Be sure to put in your diary the next farm Focus Day on the 27th Nov – we’d love to see you there. Topics include: season update; people priority part 2; crop care and future strategies.







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