Tuesday, 25 September 2018


Week ending farm notes 24-09-18

  • Cover has climbed quickly this week to 2444kgDM/ha with explosive growth of 74gDM/ha/day. Note this is drastically weighted down by the regrowth off grazed paddocks for the first few days.  Excluding paddocks grazed in the week, growth averaged 86kg/day with majority of the mid-top of wedge near or in excess of 100kg/day.
  • The herds grazed 6.2ha/day equivalent to a 24 day round of the whole farm or a 20 day round of the 123ha not set out for silage. 
  • Residuals for milkers have averaged close to 1,525kgDM/ha and ranged between 1500 and 1585kgDM/ha. We will continue to try and stretch intakes of the herd from our present point where they are being offered 19.5kg/cow. 
  • Silage is being cut Thursday and we have added another 7.5ha at the top of the wedge that will add nicely to that stack.
  • 10 days prior to AB we assessed the herd for CIDRs. There were 62 cows with enough time since calving to have cycled that were non-cyclers.  56 of these under age 10 had CIDR’s inserted.
  • Soil test for crop paddocks have been completed, crop seed is ordered and first crops due to sow around October 10th.
  • Feeding levels this past week have been as follows,
    • Calved cows 19.5kg grass offered.
  • Feeding levels for the coming week are planned as follows,
    • Calved cows 19.5-20kg grass offered.

 

Full farm feed wedge, in yellow and pink to right of image are paddocks removed from the round for silage.

 

Grazing wedge below, shows remaining feed wedge once silage removed.

 

Tuesday, 11 September 2018


Week ending farm notes 11-09-18

4 more cows to calve!!

  • Cover has dropped a little this week to 2230kgDM/ha with growth of 49kgDM/ha/day.
  • The herds grazed 5.2ha/day equivalent to a 29 day round of the whole farm or a 26 day round of the 136ha not set out for silage. 
  • A week of largely fine weather has been very welcome and has allowed residuals to be closer to target through the week. Residuals for milkers have averaged close to 1,525kgDM/ha and ranged between 1450 and 1650kgDM/ha
  • With more fine weather looming Tom has an aggressive plan to manage quality and we how have approximately 22ha skipped from the wedge for silage – though some of these paddocks aren’t yet at the top of the wedge.
  • This will allow us to move to pre-grazings of approx. 2800kgDM/ha and jump up to 6.5ha/day offered to the herd, a rotation of just on 20 days of the remaining 126ha being grazed (or 23 day round of whole farm).
  • PKE was emptied from the bins over the last week and now only on offer to the hospital mob.
  • Our PKE has had MagOxide mixed with it all spring. Last week when we removed the PKE the wet ground conditions and slightly lower water intakes resulted in a handful of milk fever cases in the milkers. Worth remaining vigilant on Mag requirements for the herd as the season progresses.
  • More lame cows this week to check, wet lanes for 3 months and bulling cows having SAG sessions on the race don’t help.
  • Soil test for crop paddocks booked next week and first crops due to sow around October 10th.
  • Feeding levels this past week have been as follows,
    • Springers 9kg grass
    • Calved cows 0.25kgDMPKE/cow/day, plus 19.5kg grass offered.
  • Feeding levels for the coming week are planned as follows,
    • Springers 9kg grass
    • Calved cows 20-20.5kg grass offered.

Tuesday, 4 September 2018


Week ending farm notes 04-09-18

  • Cover has held this week at 2263kgDM/ha with growth of 50kgDM/ha/day.
  • The herds grazed 4.9ha/day equivalent to a 31 day round of the farm.  This is slower than desired and a consequence of longer pre-grazing covers, and reducing area to allocate feed appropriately.
  • Cold wet weather and the soil type under silage paddocks means we have eaten through some of the silage paddocks to try and protect the farm.
  • We still have 14ha (down from 21) closed out for silage and will add to this as necessary.
  • Residuals for milkers have averaged close to 1,700kgDM/ha and ranged between 1530 and 1800kgDM/ha.
  • We are making the choice to protect cow intakes in the wet weather at the expense of grazing residuals, and even on dry days in wet paddocks where the grass also gets dirtied.
    We expect to target residuals of 1600-1700 this week based on on-farm conditions and we know that we are a “dry farm” (please see pictures)
    The consequence of this, is a significant risk of poor pasture quality on offer in October and during mating.  We intend to use mowers to address residuals mechanically if required and if weather permits in the September grazings. This will be a large portion of the farm to look at mowing, but offers a similar net position of compromised intakes in this round to drive quality vs, time and money mowing in the coming round to ensure quality.
  • PKE continued to be offered on the way to and from the shed, the disappearance for the week has been declining but still averaged around 0.5kgDM/cow/day.
  • Feeding levels this past week have been as follows,
    • Springers 9kg grass
    • Calved cows 0.5kgDMPKE/cow/day, plus 20.5kg grass offered.

Monday, 27 August 2018


Week ending farm notes 27-08-18

  • Cover has lifted a little this week with growth of 50kg/day and we are now actively preparing for an apparent surplus.
  • We are focussed on seeing our pre-grazing covers reduce down to 2,850kgDM/ha. This is shorter than our current longest grass.  We learned last year the challenges of being trapped on a slower round and we are committed to getting to a 23 day round of the farm to run the surplus season.
  • The PKE bins to the milkers are now definitely not being re-filled unless we have an extended period of poor weather that threatens feeding levels.
  • We have allocated 21ha of the farm into silage (throughout the wedge). This removes some of the current longest grass, some of the nearly long grass and some of the mid-wedge paddocks in case we run ourselves short of feed.
  • For the coming week we are planning to offer 19kg/cow/day to the milkers, but given the length of some of our grass we know that we will not hit residual without slowing our round. Therefore we will look to pre-mow any covers above target this week (when the weather allows).
  • The paddocks grazed this week to a higher residual are noted and will be pre-mowed or made for silage at the next grazing.
  • The herds grazed 4.0ha/day equivalent to a 38 day round of the farm. This is slower than desired and a consequence of rapid growth, driving longer pre-grazing, and needing cows sent back to the paddock to try to hit target residual.
  • Residuals have been above or significantly above target throughout the week. Pasture allocation ramped up through the week to a target of 19kg, but with the growth we were more likely offering 20kg/cow even on the slower round.
  • PKE was removed from paddocks and offered on the way to and from the shed, the disappearance for the week has been declining but still averaged around 2kgDM/cow/day.
  • Feeding levels this past week have been as follows,
    • Springers 6kg hay/silage, plus 4kg grass
    • Calved cows 2kgDMPKE/cow/day, plus 19kg grass offered.

Tuesday, 21 August 2018


Week ending farm notes 21-08-18

  • Cover has lifted a little this week with growth of 44kg/day so we are now in a very stable position for a spring run. Growth is now basically at expected levels, so we will actively begin opening the herd up.
  • The herds grazed 3.7ha/day equivalent to a 40 day round average in-line with the Spring Rotation Planner. We’re looking at bringing our Balance data target closer to the 28th of August meaning we can allocate up to half of a hectare more each day in the coming week.
  • The feed wedge now supports us rapidly increasing pasture intake. Fortunately the hard work has paid off as we have now finished our silage stack, so cows can only have a grass and PKE diet.
  • Feeding levels this past week have been as,
    • Springers 6kg hay/silage, plus 4kg grass
    • Calved cows 2.2kgDMPKE/cow/day, 2kg of silage plus 15kg of grass.
  • The upcoming week will try to stretch pasture intake up to 19kg cow and reduce palm kernel to 1kgDM to the milkers as we speed up the round. We will monitor weather to assess if our pre grazing covers are at risk of decreasing.
    Our current requirements of 16.5kg grass + 3kg PKE on 36 day rotation requires Pre-grazing just under 3,000kgDM/ha.
    Next week the same pre-grazing on a faster rotation would allow 19kg grass/cow
  • Wet days (there’ve been a few) have seen residuals of 1850kgDM/ha (overnight is a good example) by the milkers. Generally the cows are cleaning pastures up really well to between 1500 – 1550.  One tight grazing saw residuals under 1500.
  • Critical focus from here is around transitioning cows safely onto an all-grass diet as weather improves.

 

Tuesday, 31 July 2018


Week ending farm notes 30-07-18

  • Cover has slipped down further this week to 2222kgDM/ha with the whole farm growing 27kgDM/ha/day. The week has been quite a bit colder than last week – especially considering the season and daylight hours are moving on. 
  • The herds grazed 2.0ha/day equivalent to a 74 day round. This is slower than the spring rotation planner and principally a result of maintaining a reduced allocation of pasture to the milking mob.  In addition, the mob of 63 dry cows have spent all week following the milkers/colostrums/springers through paddocks and cleaning up with no fresh breaks.
  • The feed wedge is coming into line and the size of our deficit is reducing, but we know looking forward that we require significantly more grass than is available if we insist on holding our rotation to the SRP. The one remaining very long paddock is the last calving paddock on farm. 
    • We effectively reduced pasture allocation to the milkers this week by reducing break sizes slightly, and they still haven’t hit residual.
    • Our silage sample this week partially explains why; our spring stack is 42%DM not the 35% we anticipated. Meaning there has been more DM allocated as silage than intended to milkers, about 0.5kg/cow/day). 
    • Coupled with some longer-than-we estimated pre-grazing covers adding more feed in the break, seeing milker residuals closer to 1575-1625kgDM/ha before the dries popped in to follow them. This is largely corrected in the last 2 days with further reductions in break size as we’ve grazed off longer paddocks.
  • Feeding levels this past week have been as follows and will remain at these levels for one more week,
    • Late dry cows 0kg silage, plus 0kg grass in fresh breaks, 10kg grass in milker residuals.
    • Springers 5kg silage, plus 4kg grass
    • Calved cows 3kgPKE/cow/day, 4kg of silage plus 13-13.5kg of grass.
  • One rotund 3yr old got cast and died in a PKE rut and one cow with a separated pelvis (occurred just before she calved) has made no progress and was euthanised, reducing cows on farm to 410 cows.
  • N continues to follow the cows, and when we had soil temps over 10 degrees, 7ha of the farm received pro-gibb this week.
  • Critical focus remains on holding our round with the rotation planner, allocating available grass in that area, and using supplements to manage residuals.
    Why?
    Right now we have Pre-grazing covers of just on 3300-3400kgDM/ha. At these levels we can offer 13kg of grass to milkers plus supplements. 
    Holding our round gives the other paddocks time to grow.
    If next week our milkers went into 3000kgDM/ha, even allowing for an increased area on the SRP, they would only get offered 11.7kg of grass. 
    This is not the direction we want to head, and with below target cover, growth and soil temps we are not anticipating a rapid change in our situation.

 

Tuesday, 24 July 2018


Week ending farm notes 23-07-18

  • Cover has eased down further this week to 2254kgDM/ha with the whole farm growing 23kgDM/ha/day.  
  • The week has been considerably warmer and cows have had more supplement but it hasn’t corrected through to the Average Pasture Cover yet.
  • The herds grazed 2.01ha/day equivalent to a 74 day round, slightly ahead of the SRP still but well slowed down given the weather.
  • The feed wedge continues to show a deficit, even when we revise our pasture requirements down to current levels from where we would like to be.  Interestingly though, the wet weather and very long paddocks are leaving higher than target residuals with milkers.  Dry cows are following behind but even then aren’t cleaning up very well. 
    There are 3 paddocks so far earmarked for early graze and/or early mow.  We will be reducing pasture allocations to milkers slightly in an effort to sharpen the residual now.
  • Feeding levels this past week have been as follows and will remain at these levels for one more week,
    • Late dry cows 5kg silage, plus 5kg grass.
    • Springers 5-6kg silage, plus 4kg grass
    • Calved cows 3kgPKE/cow/day, 3kg of silage plus 13-13.5kg of grass.
  • 6 empty cows (slipped late Autumn early winter) have now trucked off the farm.  One euthanisation during the week for a calved cow who ruptured a uterus reducing our on-farm tally to 413 cows.
  • N continues to follow the cows, and we now have soil temps climbing back over 10 degrees, so 8ha of the farm received pro-gibb this week also

 

 

Monday, 16 July 2018


Week ending farm notes 16-07-18

  • Cover has continued easing this week to 2304kgDM/ha with the whole farm growing 20kgDM/ha/day.
  • It is critical to note the following points.
    • Our wedge shows a looming hole, our average pasture cover is below target, and our growth rates have been below budget for 3 weeks.
    • This means we will increase supplements to all mobs as much as possible in the coming week to ensure we are at or slower than our spring rotation planner target and that we are using every scrap of dry weather to protect our future growth.
    • Predominantly we will encourage more PKE use to the milkers, and lift their silage allocation to 3kg/cow and offer less grass on fine days in dry paddocks.
  • The week has been slightly warmer but a water logged farm and farm restrictions due to capital projects have had a few impacts.
  • The herds grazed 1.89ha/day equivalent to a 79 day round.
    • This has brought us ahead of our spring rotation planner, and has happened because we could only access half the farm due to the underpass install and having now power and water on one side.
    • Tom has therefore grazed paddocks beneath the top of the wedge where he was able to graze and this has required larger areas. (see wedges for paddocks grazed this week and where they were in the wedge last week!)
    • We also grazed a few very wet paddocks to “high residuals” to get them nipped off in fine weather. These return quickly in the wedge but increase our rotation speed.
  • Feeding levels this past week mirrored the previous week,
    • Late dry cows PKE offered on 4 days at 2kg/cow/day and 4kg silage, plus 6kg grass.
    • Springers 4kg silage, plus 6kg grass
    • Calved cows 2.5kgPKE/cow/day, 2kg of silage plus 15kg of grass.
  • BCS by the vet this week confirmed our average herd BCS of 5.3, most importantly only 5% of cows were not currently at-or-above calving target in the later calving mob still gaining weight. The average of the milking mob is currently 5.04 (includes R2 and R3yr animals who calved at or above BCS 5.5)
  • N continues to follow the cows, and we now have soil temps climbing back over 10 degrees, so Pro-gibb will begin as and where possible








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Contact Details:

  • Louise Cook
  • Demonstration Manager
  • Owl Farm
  •  +64 7 827 9817
  •  +64 27 808 5777
  •  enquiries@owlfarm.nz

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