Week ending 17-8-20 farm notes:
PASTURES AND FEED
Pasture cover has dropped again this week to 2190 kg DM/ha with a lift in average pasture growth rate to 38 kg DM/ha.
Last week the cows grazed 3.8 ha per day and we aim to graze 5 ha/day (total 35 ha) over the coming week. The milkers are doing a good job cleaning out the paddocks now when allocated pre-graze covers of less than 3000 kg DM/ha. We are offering 18 kg DM/cow/day. It felt like we had a case of the speed wobbles at the end of last week predicting growth of 40 kg DM/ha that was slower to come than expected. We decided to pre-mow and feed some of the shut silage paddocks (for 36 hours) and then feed 3 kg PK/cow/ day for 3 days to buy us a bit of time while we reassessed the feed situation. The farm walk today has confirmed that we are back on track and the wedge is looking great, so we will hold the remaining paddocks shut for silage (approximately 5 ha from the initial 7.2 ha).
Pre-graze target for the coming week drops to 2800 kg DM/ha with an estimated 360 cows in milk (2.5 cows/ha). The dip last week has been filled and any paddocks below the line have all had N applied, either last week or this coming week ahead of the forecast rain.
We now have over 82% of the herd calved. On Monday the whole herd was body condition scored by Peter Briston, our certified BCS assessor. The whole herd average was a stunning 5.4, down from 5.7 in July. The milkers averaged 5.3, the heifers were 5.5 and the dries 5.9. This is reflected in our OAD strategy which has only seven cows on OAD. This time last year our milkers were BCS 5.2.
By this time last season we had 65 lame cows. This year we have made lameness an animal health priority. We invested in a Healthy Hoof consultation with Bill Hancock from Cambridge Vets last year which started a series of interventions. Firstly, we video recorded the movement of cows and people on the yard, analysed the type of lameness and which foot, and carried out a stocktake of farm race surfaces. As a result of this we upgraded our data collection board at the treatment station, and installed a mirror at cups-on to ensure the operator of the backing gate doesn’t need to enter the yard to load cows onto the platform. We are using a half way backing gate so that the space is only taken behind the cows that are already facing the rotary entrance. The second backing gate only follows behind the remainder of the herd once they have had time to turn around and walk towards the rotary entrance. We have also invested over $57K in race surface maintenance over the last 12 months, and have an investment plan for the next two years and on-going money ($15k) allocated in the budget for race R&M. We are also using a Batt-latch.
So far this season we have had 4 lame cases.
Calves are still indoors, with fresh bedding added this week. We are now mixing fresh colostrum with stored milk at a 50/50 rate. This has caused a bout of nutritional scours which we hope will clear as the calves adjust. The oldest 100 are being fed OAD to save time.
We have had a sort through of our surplus calves; 30 are now on the market with an average BW of 187 (range 170-199). We are still waiting to find a buyer. Please contact Kelly Higgins from Carrfields if you are interested.
Last week the first 10 Wagyu calves left the farm, aged between 10 and 21 days old and weighing on average 47 kg. We receive $165/head plus $6.5/kg for every kilo over 35 kg. This is our LIC First Light Wagyu contract. We have another 30 Wagyu calves in the shed and as a bonus we got twin Wagyus yesterday which made that straw particularly profitable! There are a further 30 springers left to calve.
Last season we were challenged to maintain FEI within limits and so this season we have contracted 60-70t of grass silage at a standing rate of 18/kg DM with expected ensiling costs of around 18c/kg DM. This will result in a final cost of 36c/kg DM. While this is high, it also fits our system infrastructure with no further cost incurred other than wastage which is weather- and management-dependent. We are aiming to have supplementary feed costs averaging around 5% of payout, which leaves us with up to 135 t DM of PK to secure at around $270/t DM. So far, we have used less than 12 t of PK. We will look to secure another 60 t to get us through Jan/Feb/Mar and then late Autumn purchases will be dependent on payout updates.
The wetland area has filled up again this month. It is pleasing to see that some of the soft stem bulrush plants that we transplanted are now above water level and still photosynthesising. We have over 60 plants that were subdivided growing on ready for planting next Autumn.
The effluent spreader has gone in for repairs this week. Early management of pond water levels has ensured that this does not create environmental risks, as the effluent storage pond is just over half-full.
PEOPLE AND COMMUNITY
This week we took the time to thank our whole team at Owl Farm for their contribution. As well as Tom and LaArni, we have Yvonne who is a permanent part-timer, three students who relief milk and a student on placement for one day each week.
As well as monitoring average hours/week for salaried staff members, we record all hours worked on farm to effectively analyse system changes – in particular, the use of technology.
Having a team of capable milkers and a one-person milking shed gives greater flexibility on what work can be completed during milking, and allows time off to our permanent team members.
Season to date our Farm Manager and 2IC have averaged 58 and 36 hrs/week, respectively, with an average of 16 hrs/week of relief support.
PLANNING FOR THE MONTH AHEAD:
Cheers Jo + Tom
|Milk Production - Week ending||13/07/2020||20/07/2020||27/07/2020||3/08/2020||10/08/2020||17/08/2020||Variance|
|Cow's in milk||89||180||263||291||312||335||-60|
|Springer herd/dry cows||327||236||153||124||98||75||+75|
|Number of cows in big herd||40||100||225||265||158||177||-63|
|Number of cows in small herd||0||0||0||0||131||143||-7|
|Number of cows in colostrum herd||49||46||42||16||18||15||+15|
|Number of Cows in the Treatment/Sick herd||0||0||4||2||4||4||-3|
|KgMS/cow/day (cows in the vat only)||0.00||1.62||1.67||1.85||2.02||2.10||+.43|
|Milk production for week ending (kgMS)||0.00||827.00||2390.00||3305.00||3402.00||4525.00||-81|
|Total milk production - YTD (kgMS)||0.00||912.00||3302.00||6607.00||10009.00||15157.00||-112615|
|Milk production per ha (kgMS/ha/day)||0.00||0.90||2.10||3.20||3.80||4.40||-.2|
|Total milk production per ha - YTD (kgMS/ha/YTD)||0.00||6.00||23.00||46.00||70.00||105.00||-782|
|Bulk Milk SCC (SCC x 1000)||0||134||158||132||113||131||+4|
|Animal Health - Week ending||13/07/2020||20/07/2020||27/07/2020||3/08/2020||10/08/2020||17/08/2020||Variance|
|BCS (average whole herd)||5.70||5.70||5.70||5.70||5.50||5.40||+.9|
|BCS (average heifers)||5.80||5.80||5.60||5.60||5.25||5.50||+.8|
|Lame cows - new cases||0||0||1||1||2||0||-|
|Lame cows - YTD||0||0||1||2||4||4||-33|
|Mastitis - new cases||0||0||2||3||1||5||+3|
|Mastitis - YTD||0||0||2||5||6||11||-38|
|Number of cows on penicillin||0||0||5||3||4||6||+4|
|Number of cows on penicillin YTD||1||1||6||9||13||19||-46|
|Culls - new cases||0||0||0||0||4||0||-|
|Culls - YTD||0||0||0||0||4||4||-12|
|Deaths - new cases||0||0||0||1||1||0||-|
|Deaths - YTD||0||0||0||1||2||2||-2|
|Pasture Production - Week ending||13/07/2020||20/07/2020||27/07/2020||3/08/2020||10/08/2020||17/08/2020||Variance|
|Average pasture cover (kgDM/ha)||2587||2557||2500||2405||2249||2190||+7|
|Average pasture growth rates (kgDM/day)||31||27||22||25||23||38||-3|
|Lowest post graze residual (kgDM/ha)||1300||1300||1300||1300||1400||1450||-50|
|Highest pre graze cover (kgDM/ha)||4500||4500||4200||4000||3800||3100||-100|
|Average area grazed/day for milkers (ha)||1.60||1.75||2.16||2.72||3.00||3.80||+1.1|
|Total Biomass Measured (kgDM) )|
|Supplementary Use - Week ending||13/07/2020||20/07/2020||27/07/2020||3/08/2020||10/08/2020||17/08/2020||Variance|
|Average PKE (kg/cow/day)||0.30||0.30||0.30||0.10||0.10||0.80||-1.2|
|Average maize (kg/cow/day)||0.00||0.00||0.00||0.00||0.00||0.00||-|
|Average silage (kg/cow/day)||1.00||1.00||0.70||0.50||0.30||0.30||-2.2|
|Silage usage YTD||5.80||8.70||10.80||12.20||13.20||11.80||-17.4|
|Silage Harvested Tonnes (DM)||0.00||0.00||0.00||0.00||0.00||0.00||-|
|Total Supplement Feed (per cow kgDM)||18.00||27.30||34.50||38.80||42.00||43.80||-8.7|
|Total Supplement YTD (Tonnes)||7.30||11.10||14.00||15.70||17.00||17.80||-122.8|
|Nitrogen and Gibberellic Acid - Week ending||13/07/2020||20/07/2020||27/07/2020||3/08/2020||10/08/2020||17/08/2020||Variance|
|kgN applied per ha/% of farm||0.00 KgN/ 0.00 %||0.00 KgN/ 0.00 %||0.00 KgN/ 0.00 %||0.00 KgN/ 0.00 %||29.00 KgN/ 41.70 %||0.00 KgN/ 0.00 %||0.00 %|
|kgN applied YTD (average kgN/ha)||4.80||4.80||4.80||4.80||16.90||16.90||-59.7|
|GA applied (20gm/ha)||0.00||0.00||0.00||0.00||0.00||0.00||-|
|Effluent Applied y/n||N||N||N||N||Y||N||-|
|Paddocks effluent applied||0||0||0||0||3||0||-|
|Application Depth (mm)||0.00||0.00||0.00||0.00||18.00||0.00||-|
|Climate - Week ending||13/07/2020||20/07/2020||27/07/2020||3/08/2020||10/08/2020||17/08/2020||Variance|
|Temperature (ave. °C)||9.00||10.00||9.50||11.04||9.92||10.00||-11.5|
|Soil temperature (ave. °C at 10cm depth)||10.50||12.50||11.50||12.50||12.50||11.60||-10.4|
|Soil Moisture(% at 10cm depth)||33.70||33.80||34.00||33.50||33.90||33.70||+6.7|