Tuesday, 13 November 2018


Week ending farm notes

  • Cover has climbed this week to 2167kgDM/ha with growth settling around 68kgDM/ha/day and includes the impact of calves (“the nibblers”) eating feed out of the middle of the wedge.
  • The herds grazed 6.17ha/day equivalent to a 24 day round of the whole farm or 22 days of the 136ha in grass with 11ha out in cropping area.  
  • Cows have dropped again this week, to 1.87kgMS average for the week, and as outlined in yesterday’s information this is largely a reflection of changing quality in the grass plants. This is reducing time taken to digest food and therefore has reduced intake.  We have now reduced allowances, this week by reducing area offered to ensure satisfactory residuals – cows grazing to 1500-1600, tops out of most clumps
  • Residuals for milkers have averaged close to 1,550kgDM/ha with a few “send backs” to tidy up some residuals.  Overall we have seen cows doing a good job, but most paddocks have some stem and seed left behind that we will deal with mechanically. 
  • Roughly a third of the paddocks this week were mowed ahead of the cows as we get into reducing the effort for cows to harvest their food in an environment where the plant is being somewhat unco-operative.
  • Key management decisions. 
    • Grass is doing what we saw in Dec-Feb last year, burning out sugar into NDF.  We know the longer the grass gets the worse this impact.
    • We are going to keep pre-grazing levels for the herd under 2800kgDM/ha as well as pre-mowing.
    • We want to stay on our faster rounds, and not slow down chasing the longer covers.
    • We will drop out surplus again now to address the excess growth in the wedge.
    • We are forecasting growth over the next two weeks at 65kg/ha/day
    • We will make a light quick silage cut to get back in the round and stacked within 10 days from now.
  • With demand of approximately 60kg/day including calves and growth of 65kg likely ahead of us we are growing 8% more than demand each day.  Removing 8% of the paddock will settle our supply demand imbalance.  We have 9ha from the top of the wedge allocated to head into the stack middle of next week
  • Evaluation of crops shows the same nasty little insets in the younger crops and they will be sprayed to address this.
  • With 46 days of AB completed we have put 99% of the herd up to date – 4 cows have yet to cycle, all calved around September 1st.
  • 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 19.5kg grass offered.

Challenging times – but we’re happy with our plan to try and protect the cows production over the next 3 months.

Pics show milker residual, and the close up showing by water bottle resting on a bed of stalk, few ungrazed leaves in this clump, wedge, pasture quality comparisons

 

Monday, 5 November 2018


Week ending farm notes 5-11-18

 

 

  • With all silage now cut, cover has dropped this week to 2093kgDM/ha with growth settling around 77kgDM/ha/day.
  • The herds grazed 6.65ha/day equivalent to a 22 day round of the whole farm or 18 days of the 116ha left in the grazing round this past week with 21.7ha out for silage. 
  • Cows have dropped this week, from 1.97kg/cow last Tuesday to 1.83kgMS at the end of the week, with protein % very stable, litres declining and fat percentage erratic.
  • Residuals for milkers have averaged close to 1,585kgDM/ha and ranged between 1500 and 1725kgDM/ha, during which time milk production has continued to quietly slide. See notes below, but we believe the change in feed quality is the main contributor – with pasture samples due to go this week.
  • The first herd had PKE 3 nights this week, an average of 0.4kgDM/cow for the whole 406 cows for the week, or 1.7kg PKE/cow for the 1st herd each night they had it offered.
    Let’s talk PKE – why did it stay in the herd when we seem to have enough feed? We were worried about faling production – risk of cows losing weight and kinda had to test a theory.
    • Cows had been dropping reasonably quickly, though it seemed we were offering them enough feed based on pre-grazing covers measured.
    • We could see and feel grass quality starting to change with stem developing across the farm and the first seed heads already visible.
    • We don’t want to cross the fine line and force cows too far into residuals when the pasture’s reproductive process is starting to make life difficult. The extra grazing time required to eat that last little bit could make a big sacrifice in intake if we get it wrong. 
    • So, were cow’s grazing to a residual they were comfortable with and stopping eating down further but being a touch under-fed?
    • With adding PKE they should lift in production, if grass diet is being offered in lower volume than we think/ or they are stopping eating further as the pasture base is a little hardwork to clean up completely.
    • Cows didn’t lift but residuals did for that herd, more than they lifted for the other herd so we don’t think it’s a shortage of grass available, rather a change in grass that is affecting energy intake and production.
  • All silage is cut and will be stacked Tuesday, with all paddocks at the bottom of the wedge at a 1550 residual.
  • Last week’s damage confirmed some slug nibbling but more importantly found Argentine stem weevil and greasy cut worm in all crop paddocks.
  • With 39 days of AB completed we have put 98.8% of the herd up to date.
  • Feeding levels this past week have been as follows,
    • Calved cows 20kg grass offered.
  • Feeding levels for the coming week are planned as follows,
    • Calved cows 20kg grass offered.

Monday, 29 October 2018


Week ending farm notes 29-10-18

 

  • Cover has jumped this week to 2417kgDM/ha with growth settling around 79kgDM/ha/day.
  • The herds grazed 6.7ha/day equivalent to a 22 day round of the whole farm or 17 days of the 116ha left in the grazing round this past week with all 10ha of crop sprayed out and drilled and 21.7ha out for silage. 
  • Cows have slightly lifted on average again this week although we’re expecting to see our post-peak decline firmly set in from here out as we see a visible change in pasture quality coming, as seed head is emerging.
  • Residuals for milkers have averaged close to 1,520kgDM/ha and ranged between 1450 and 1550kgDM/ha on most paddocks. Two paddocks in wet weather yesterday were grazed closer to 1675kgDM/ha, and will be mowed next round ahead to ensure a consistent height of base in the pasture.
  • An inch of rain in the last 6 days has jolted growth strongly along in front of us making our silage cut far less risky for the next grazing round. It is due to cut Sunday and join the stack with last month’s haul.
  • One group of milkers was offered PKE with their night feed last night to top up the total pasture available when there were no other nearby paddocks to match up for the herd. Cows have been steadily let-over onto fresh grass more often through the week as the dry weather we had been having had slowed growth.  With an effective round of 17 days average through the last week the decision was made to stop any further shortening of the round, and we saw a window where we might use PKE for 4-5 days nights.  The outcome of the farm walk today and the rain in the last 24 hours has doubled the amount we’ve had in the week and restored our faith in growth for the next 3 weeks.
    PKE with silage out?  We have an unlimited demand for extra feed in summer, but limits to how much PKE we can feed.  For 4 days, 4T of PKE would be fed to the herd or we could have eaten off 4T of our locked up silage which we know we will use later in the year.
  • Crops are all going gang busters, with all paddocks fully emerged. We have added slug bait again with the rain and continue to monitor. Damage seen today will see Kyle from PGG Wrightson Seeds out tomorrow to ascertain what unauthorised vermin are nibbling our turnips – slugs are prime suspects.
  • With 33 days of AB completed we have put 97% of the herd up to dat. This morning 8 cows who had not yet visibly cycled during AB were given a PG shot, to see if we can force a stronger cycle if they are having silent heats. Two are early August calving and 7 & 10 years old. And the rest calved after 25-08-18 and are just due or past due for a first cycle. 
  • Feeding levels this past week have been as follows,
    • Calved cows 20kg grass offered.
  • Feeding levels for the coming week are planned as follows,
    • Calved cows 20kg grass offered.

 

 

Tuesday, 23 October 2018


Week ending farm notes 22-10-18

 

  • Cover has held this week at just on 2267kgDM/ha with growth settling around 69kgDM/ha/day.
  • The herds grazed 6.7ha/day equivalent to a 22 day round of the whole farm or 18 days of the 123ha left in the grazing round this past week with the first 5ha of crop sprayed out and drilled and 19ha out for silage. 
  • The remaining crop area was grazed off this week, meaning looking forward we have 118ha left in the grazing round and demand for the herd of 68kg/ha/day.
  • Crops in the first paddocks are up and looking good, slug bait was placed when drilled and slug mats will go out this week. We continue to monitor carefully with our agronomist.
  • Cows have slightly lifted on average for the week in production although the fat % in milk has fluctuated considerably.
  • Residuals for milkers have averaged close to 1,520kgDM/ha and ranged between 1480 and 1550kgDM/ha on most paddocks.
  • We are looking to cut our silage ASAP and get it back in the round – tentatively this will be in the next 10 days if possible.
  • With 25 days of AB completed we have put 95.8% of the herd up to date 93.9% in the first 3 weeks.
  • Water leaks continue to be a challenge, with some trying to help us irrigate in the recently sown turnip paddocks. In addition the team have nearly completed the trough leaning around the farm.
  • Feeding levels this past week have been as follows,
    • Calved cows 20kg grass offered.
  • Feeding levels for the coming week are planned as follows,
    • Calved cows 20kg grass offered.

 

 

Tuesday, 16 October 2018


Week ending farm notes 16-10-18

 

  • Cover has crept up further this week to 2263kgDM/ha with strong growth averaging 74kgDM/ha/day including paddocks grazed and regrowth. 
  • The herds grazed 7ha/day equivalent to a 21 day round of the whole farm or 20 days of the 142 left in grass with the first 5ha of crop sprayed out and drilled.  
  • Cows have turned a wee corner in production and stabilised or lifted slightly as the week progressed with a slight lift in pre-grazing as the feedwedge hole finished growing out.  This is more evident when looking at the L/cow than in total milksolids, with the wet weather Friday/Saturday dropping the fat test dramatically pulling cows as low as 1.97kg/cow, but they have now bounced back up to 2.07kg+
  • Residuals for milkers have averaged close to 1,540kgDM/ha and ranged between 1480 and 1550kgDM/ha on most paddocks. Three paddocks have not yet been mowed to reset residuals and were grazed closer to their current available residual of 1750 – they will get mowed next round.
  • As expected we have our 2nd surplus wave on-hand and have set out 18ha for a silage cut which should be in the stack by the end of the month.
  • The remaining crop area has been sprayed, and will be grazed off within 48 hours and planted with CleanCrop Bulb Turnips. 
  • With 18 days of AB completed we have put 93% of the herd up to date.  It’s a pleasing statistic, but we are counting zero chickens in the basket yet and patiently waiting to see how the next 9 weeks unfold.
  • Calves weighed and vaccinated this week and the first 40 are to be weaned now as they are 90kg+ already.
  • Water leaks continue to be a challenge, with some presenting themselves very clearly to be found- like the 1st leak in pics attached, and others a little more subtly.
  • 4 cows were culled from the herd this week, 2 dry cows that slipped through winter and 2 milkers that were 2-titters.
  • Feeding levels this past week have been as follows,
    • Calved cows 20kg grass offered.
  • Feeding levels for the coming week are planned as follows,
    • Calved cows 20kg grass offered.

Monday, 8 October 2018


Week ending farm notes 08-10-18

  • Cover has bounced this week to 2185kgDM/ha with strong growth averaging 74kgDM/ha/day including paddocks grazed and regrowth.
  • The herds grazed 6.1ha/day equivalent to a 24 day round of the whole farm and this week the whole 147ha were in round. During the week 4 paddocks were removed for Turnips having been sprayed out and nipped off.  
  • Cows are just easing back in production, and we are going to see if small tweaks can settle them and hold production up. A couple of this week’s pre-grazing were about 50kg/ha short of target as last week’s feedwedge hole filled up, but we are now through that and keen to try and hold the herd average over 2kgMS/cow throughout October – a mighty feat in the evolution of the farm.
  • Residuals for milkers have averaged close to 1,500kgDM/ha and ranged between 1500 and 1530kgDM/ha. Majority of the paddocks grazed this week were mowed ahead of the milkers as we took the opportunity to reset residuals after wet early spring grazings. 
  • Another looming surplus wave is coming, and over the next week paddocks will be removed if necessary to maintain target pre-grazing. This will coincide with the remaining 7ha of crop area being sprayed out of the round.
  • Mating is off to a flying start, with really positive signs in terms of submission rate. We’ll have a swag of info to present in our “Technical Thursday” session to explain it further.
  • A mammoth effort to find and curtail the frequent occurrence of water leaks has been undertaken, though we are still finding new leaks start on an almost daily basis. This does use up a lot of staff time, but this week in between milkings the team are cleaning troughs for the cows.
  • 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.

 

Milkers at 1pm, residuals overnight and wedge

Tuesday, 2 October 2018


Week ending farm notes 01-10-18

  • Cover has dropped this week to 2011kgDM/ha principally due to the harvesting of silage. Growth of the farm excluding paddocks re-growing after being cut for silage is 60kgDM/ha/day in a much cooler week of soil and air temps.  Cover on the area held in the grazing round was 2091kgDM/ha – a little tight, compared with 2165kgDM/ha on the same paddock area last week.
  • The herds grazed 6.0ha/day equivalent to a 25 day round of the whole farm or a 20 day round of the 121ha not set out for silage. 
  • Residuals for milkers have averaged close to 1,500kgDM/ha and ranged between 1500 and 1550kgDM/ha. Majority of the paddocks grazed this week were mowed ahead of the milkers as we took the opportunity to reset residuals after wet early spring grazings. 
  • Approximately 70T of silage is now in the stack, double what we made last spring, and we expect another cut to be made in November.
  • All cows had Heat patches applied pre-mating, and replaced after being activated, and 24 hours after being inseminated. So far we are seeing good numbers coming up each day in line with the number cycling pre-mating, with the CIDR cows already mated on Day 2.
  • The last of the September Nitrogen and the October Maintenance fert is now being applied, along with Effluent.
  • Crop paddocks have had their pre-cropping Lime applications completed and are ready to spray out as required.
  • 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.

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.








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  • Louise Cook
  • Demonstration Manager
  • Owl Farm
  •  +64 7 827 9817
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