Monday, 20 January 2020
Week ending 20-1-20 farm notes:
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 24-29◦C and around 11-15◦C at night. This is well over the comfort zone for a cow at 4-20◦C.
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
Week ending 13-1-20 farm notes:
Monday, 6 January 2020
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.
Monday, 30 December 2019
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.
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:
Tuesday, 17 December 2019
Week ending 16/12/19 farm notes:
Tuesday, 10 December 2019
Week ending 9-12-19 farm notes:
Tuesday, 3 December 2019
Week ending 2-12-19 farm notes:
Tuesday, 26 November 2019
Week ending 25-11-19 farm notes:
Tuesday, 19 November 2019
Week ending 18-11-19 farm notes:
Tuesday, 12 November 2019
Week ending 11-11-19 farm notes:
Tuesday, 5 November 2019
Week ending 4-11-19 farm notes: