Weathering the dry


18 March 2020 Farm Focus Day


25 September 2019 Farm Focus Day


September Focus Day - Season update, Repro, People, Fertiliser


September Focus Day

Owl Farm Focus Day Wednesday, 25 September 

Spring Review

Season Update
Spring production, profit and performance

Reproduction Preview
Systems and processes for all AB

People Priority
Study of time and tasks at Owl Farm this spring

Owl Farm Fertiliser Plan
Decision rules, what products, when and why?

Includes Lunch; All Welcome

Venue – Owl Farm
St Peter’s School, 1716 Cambridge Road,
Old SH1, Cambridge


May Focus Day - Season review and Repro


New demonstration Manager


Afternoon Owl Farm followers! We have to regretfully announce that our Demonstration Manager Louise Cook is off to greener (if somewhat colder) pastures at the Southern Dairy Hub in Invercargill. 
This week will be Louise’s 9th and last Focus Day with us since she started in April 2017. She has definitely left her mark on Owl farm with her love of data, addiction to spreadsheets and massive passion for helping find sustainable farm systems. Her pictures, info and enthusiasm will be missed, but the good work she and Tom have done in the past 2 years will definitely continue.
Stay tuned for updates as we work through the process of replacing Louise. For now, a few of our favourite pics of her and the adventures at Owl Farm.


Greenhouse Gas at the March Focus Day 2019


  1. Wednesday 27 March 2019 

 DairyNZ GHG Partner Farm Project launch 10am-12pm

    • Understanding greenhouse gas in the dairy industry
    • Case study of Owl Farm, and reduction in GHG emissions
    • DairyNZ and Dairy Action for Climate Change (DACC)
    • Overseas consumer’s expectations in NZ made milk
    • Jamie Strange - Labour MP and Toll Muller National MP

    Owl Farm Performance and Season Update 12.30pm

Public Open Day - Owl Farm


Public Open Day

Saturday 9 March 2019 9.15am - 1pm

A day on the farm with lots of activities for you to experience.

• Explore the ways we are working to protect the environment;
• Everyone can change water quality! Join our Community planting event, 
help us grow plants to protect waterways.
• Meet our cows and some really friendly calves.
• See cows being milked throughout the day.
• See what it takes to prepare a gourmet meal for cows
Plus loads more...
Free sausage sizzle and ice-creams
Coffee available to purchase
This day promises to be fun for the whole family so chuck on your gummies andgummies and
come along for what will be an awesome day down on the farm.

Focus Day November 21 2018


Last Owl Farm Focus Day 

Wednesday 21 November 2018

87 attendees heard about a World Markets update from Westpac Economist Anne Boniface.

The information discussed is in the Westpac Fortnightly Agri-update.  Impacts of global demand and supply, what's really happening plus the impact and potential changes in the strength of the kiwi dollar.

Maximising Summer Performance was discussed in a Workshop session sharing ideas on tactics and trigger points to hit key targets. 
the topics for consideration involved:

  1. How do you deploy your supplementary feeds over the next 4 months - what factors need to be considered, e.g. setting aside sialge for spring and winter, and keeping some for the Autumn rains.  How much PKE can be fed and still manage your FEI, how does this change your approach to feeding?
  2. What do you do about rotation length?  Great discussion around when to extend it, what a good target is, and the need to be flexible in response to changing pasture growth.
  3. When would you use OAD on the farm, for all or part of the herd and how do you manage the process?
  4. Lastly, the theme through all of the topics was around flexibility and monitoring.  Growth rates will have an impact on most of the decisions above, and we need to remain flexible with all of the topics ot ahcieve a great outcome.  Starting with a plan of what we expect growth to be will help us easily identify if we are off track.

Current Season Update 
Less cows are making more milk, 94% of the herd submitted in 3 weeks of AB, 4 times last year’s spring silage made.  Holding cows over 2kgMS/cow/day has been a standout highlight of the season with less brought0in feed used to achieve this.  Having strong decision rules around how we wanted to oerate the farm was a key to seeing these results.

Key decision rules Sep - Oct

  • Keep pre-graze under 3,000kgDM/ha
  • Area grazed constant around 6.5ha/day. 17-22 day round of area available to graze
  • Back the farm to grow – put the surplus in the stack
  • Focus on next round quality – cows must work to graze to 1600 or less.
  • Mower fixes any allocation errors where residuals were higher


103 Cows in Milk
0.95 KgMS cow/day Milk Solids
2367 kgDM/ha Pasture Cover
41 kgDM/ha/day Growth Rate
62 Round Length
0.20 Avg Supp Usage
355 SCC

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