Monday, 16 October 2017


Week ending farm notes:

  • Cover has increased again this week to 2,486kgDM/ha with net growth of 87kg/day.  This week, cows have been on an average of 29 day round of the farm/ 26 day round of the area in grass. All crop paddocks are now excluded from the round, with the first two paddocks drilled and seedlings germinated and up within 6 days.  6ha has also been set aside out of the wedge and rotations for the weaned calves at the far end of the farm.
  • The feed wedge now confirms a considerable surplus surplus – evident in the long covers on hand now and throughout the wedge.  18.3ha of silage has been removed where we can, as many paddocks are undersown and can’t be left for silage.  This has resulted in removal of paddocks throughout the wedge rather than the top.  Over the next week, more paddocks will be skipped as we are more confident of a larger surplus to get down to target pre-grazing covers.  The very longest paddocks in the wedge are all Italians, and the plants are still in the 3 leaf stage, so we confident of good quality despite the length.
  • Cows have been allocated 19kg of pasture again this week, and residuals have stayed at 1550-1600kgDM/ha, though area offered has reduced throughout the week to see this happen. At 19kgDM/cow offered, and 3.94 cows/ha (effective stocking rate on the now 107ha grazing platform) 5ha/day will be a 21 day round which we aim to be back to within 10 days.  For the next week due to longer covers, area offered will be closer to 4ha/day to achieve residual.
  • Milkers have been producing an average of 1.93kgMS/cow this week ranging from 1.96kg/cow to 1.88kg/cow. 
  • The first 3 weeks of AI are nearing completion, and we are on track to submit 86% of the herd.  This is slightly higher than last year with 62 less CIDR cows than last year – a 25% increase in naturally cycling cows in the first 3 weeks submitted. 

Monday, 9 October 2017


Week ending farm notes:

  • Cover has increased again this week to 2,373kgDM/ha (2,390kgDM/ha after the first 2 crop paddocks are excluded) with net growth of 78kg/day.  This week, cows have been on an average of 27 day round of the farm as cover continued to build ahead of us. As we progress from here cows will be grazing 5ha/day which will be a 25 day round as the rest of the crop paddocks are removed this week. Where necessary this past week and moving forward we  will send cows back to the paddock to hit residual, when they haven’t finished grazing the paddock.    Effective demand for the coming week will be 65kg/day 3.4 cows/ha at 19kg/cow.
  • The feed wedge now shows a looming surplus – evident in the long covers on hand now and a bubble in the middle of the wedge.  Once all crop areas are removed this is still evident and several longer paddocks may be deferred this week depending on the weather to keep cows in the right length pasture.  Ideally we would make 150+ tonne of silage, so supporting maximum growth to enable the biggest surplus is of real value to the farm.
  • Cows have been allocated 19kg of pasture again this week, and residuals have stayed at 1550-1600kgDM/ha except for several wet paddocks, and undersown paddocks nipped off to an intentionally higher residual.  PKE has been reduced to 1kg/cow as pre-grazing covers are now much higher and production has stabilised.
  • Milkers have been producing an average of 1.95kgMS/cow this week ranging from 1.99kg/cow to 1.92kg/cow. 
  • Mating is underway and in the first 13 days we had 295 cows submitted.  This is an average of 18 cows/day excluding the 56 CIDR cows. Compared to last year on the same date, we have submitted 44 less cows, but we treated 62 less cows with a CIDR so we’re tracking well by comparison. 

Louise and Tom

Monday, 2 October 2017


Week ending farm notes:

 

  • Cover has increased this week to 2,228kgDM/ha with net growth of 62kg/day. This week, cows have been on a 23 day round of the farm on the slightly shorter covers and with some wet days.  However the strong growth and warm temperatures we’ve largely had in the last week have seen pre-grazing covers lift happily to a more useful level to enable slowing of the rotation in the coming week.
  • The Feed wedge still forecasts a deficit when the cropping area is removed based on offering cows 18kgDM and sitting on a 28 day round. So PKE will continue to be fed right through until we can see a surplus after the crop areas are removed.
  • Cows have been allocated 18kg of pasture again this week, and residuals have stayed at 1500-1600kgDM/ha (excluding the wet days). PKE has been offered and cows have consumed about 2kg/cow/day throughout the week.  This has enabled us to hold a round of 23 days and build longer covers ahead of us.  We are targeting a 28 day round by the end of this week, as longer pre-grazing will see us shorten the round to maintain residuals.  We also have to skip through a number of the paddocks of undersowing to ensure emerging plants do not get closed out by established neighbouring plants.
  • Milkers have been producing an average of 1.93kgMS/cow this week ranging from 1.97kg/cow to 1.88kg/cow. Poor production days coincided with wet weather and having to hold cows on rotation to improve farm cover.  We are hopeful this week that with longer grass available we will be able to feed cows more consistently.
  • Mating is underway and in the first 5 days we had 100 cows submitted which is more than our target of 18/day to meet a 90% submission rate. However this has fluctuated between 9 and 30/day during this time. This does not yet include the CIDR cows who will be mated tomorrow.

Regards Louise and Tom

 

Monday, 25 September 2017


Week ending farm notes

  • Cover has decreased this week to 2,171kgDM/ha with net growth of 57kg/day. The 3 silage paddocks were cut, contributing a big change in average cover, and the grazing cover of the farm has gone from an average of 2,229kgDM/ha to 2,171kgDM/ha.  This week, cows have effectively been on an 18 day round of the farm as the areas undersown were lightly grazed off out of rotation.  With 7.7ha sprayed out into new grass and demand with calves on pasture the feed wedge is very tight as demand is still approximately 58-60kgDM/ha.  There is enough cover on farm to support milking, however there will not likely be sufficient surplus on hand on 10 days to allow removal of area for cropping without decreasing cow intakes.
  • The Feed wedge forecasts a marginal deficit when the cropping area is removed based on growth of 65kg/day and offering cows 18kgDM (reduced allocation as utilisation has improved significantly this week, and higher allocations saw wasted feed). However, we are unsure of achieving growth rates of 65kg/day on a tight wedge and forecast 23 day round.   We intend to slow the round down to 28 days, which will ensure we are able to maintain an appropriate round and feed wedge when all of the crop area is out.  In retrospect, 2 of 3 silage paddocks could have been eaten, but this alone wouldn’t have slowed the round length enough to cover the looming hole or stretch the round out to 28 days.
  • Cows have been allocated 19kg down to 18kg of pasture again this week, and residuals have stayed at 1500-1600kgDM/ha. PKE was fed early in the week in the wet weather and topped up a small grazing allocation.  This week we will increase PKE back to the herd at 1-2kg/cow as we slow down the rotation and maximise the growth in the coming weeks.
  • Milkers have been producing an average of 1.97kgMS/cow this week on grass and decreasing amounts of PKE, the Fat % drop with no PKE did occur, but volumes have also varied significantly. BCS of cows this week at an average of 4.0 for the farm, with the big herd at 4.22 and the small herd at 3.78 including 30 OAD cows.
  • Calving is complete, and pre-mating heat detection had us on track with the proportion of eligible cows cycled prior to mating start (80% of eligible cows by 5 days prior to start of mating). We have used CIDR’s on 56 earlier calving cows who had not cycled and have identified all cows that have had light heats (minimal rubbing and low level of paint disturbance) plus the later calvers to be fitted with K-mars to allow more accurate detection during AB.

Louise and Tom

Monday, 11 September 2017


Week ending farm notes:

 

  • Cover has decreased to 2,326kgDM/ha with net growth of 54kg/day. This week, cows have been largely on a 26 day round of the farm, and the very wet and waterlogged paddocks are stalling in growth whilst the majority of the farm is continuing to grow very well.  Half of the silage paddocks are now being eaten as they represent a dry place to put cows in these very wet conditions.  Alternatively, our end of week paddocks are very waterlogged and so we will bypass them until they are dryer.  Else there would be very high wastage/a very fast round/lots of pasture damage.   There is still 7.3ha out as silage (now expected to be bales) plus 4ha out for regrassing. This results in an effective stocking rate of 3.0 cows/ha and demand of 58kgDM/ha/day.
  • Feed Wedge continues to show a surplus though this has moved around a lot in the wedge as several silage paddocks were grazed off. There are a number of paddocks grazed this week now that will be harvested with mechanical assistance one way or another as soon as practical – preferably their next grazing.
  • Cows have been allocated 20kg of pasture this week, though when we look at the extra residuals left behind only 19.5kg/cow has been disappearing. Of this we believe cows are eating a little over 16kg of grass – daily utilisation of around 80% (and worse on the wettest of days and wettest of paddocks). The PKE is offered ad lib to cows, they have only consumed approximately 1kg/day since it was offered last Thursday and we know from last month that race and shed access allows enough time for 2.5kgPKE/cow/day if they want to eat it.   PKE will stay available ad lib to cows until we get a decent break in the weather.
  • Milkers have been producing 2.00kgMS/cow this week on grass and PKE, this dipped as low as 1.92kg/cow last Wednesday and are back over 2.05kg over the weekend despite the weather. We are seeing a recovery of milksolids percentages but litres aren’t rising like we had hoped.  Given the time since calving suspect the bulk of the herd has been through peak and it may be around reducing decline from here for majority of cows. Given the extremely challenging weather we’ve had it’s not a bad outcome – though frustrating to not have cows flying like they could be if everything weren’t sodden.

Louise and Tom

Monday, 4 September 2017


Week ending farm notes:

 

  

 

  • Cover has decreased to 2,371kgDM/ha with net growth of 63kg/day. We have managed to speed up the round this week a little, but now with area out we are still only at 29days for the farm, we hope to get to 23 days within the week on our smaller grazing platform which is 27days on the whole farm. In saying that with really wet paddocks a number of days have had very large allocations – approx. 20 day round) as cows were let over onto fresh breaks.  These paddocks are back in the wedge at higher covers though and have therefore contributed to our total cover reducing.
  • Feed Wedge continues to forecast a surplus and 10.8ha is still fully closed out for surplus, 4ha of annuals have been sprayed out for regrassing and another 4ha is earmarked (actively being skipped for silage) bringing total area out of round today of 18ha. This lifts effective stocking rate to 3.2 cows/ha and demand closer to 60kg/day.
  • Cows have been offered 18.5kg of pasture this week, and on wet days when grass has been dirtied mobs have been moved on to a fresh break again. This has seen a handful of paddocks left at residuals of 1,850kgDM/ha+, which will be addressed next round.  To improve feeding consistency, the annuals have been pulled back into the round as the paddocks are drier, and with a wet week coming – it’s “nicer” to make any potential damage happen to non-permanent paddocks.
  • Milkers have been producing 2.02kgMS/cow this week on all grass – varying between 2.07 and 1.92kg/cow. This volatility is largely due to the inconsistency of fat % in the milk, where for the same L/cow cows did 2.07kgMS one day and 1.92 the next. This happened over the weekend in the very worst of the weather, and cows have bounced back in volume today.  We are increasing allocation to 19-20kg/cow offered this week which will be juggled to keep residuals under control – 5.65ha/day grazed approx. 135m/cow for all cows on farm.

Louise and Tom

 

Monday, 28 August 2017


Week ending farm notes:

 

  • Cover has increased to 2,401kgDM/ha with net growth of 57kg/day. We have managed to speed up the round this week, and we are now tracking in line with the SRP.  Soil temp at 9.8 average for the week (as low as 8.8 with the sunny days and cool nights).
  • Feed Wedge continues to forecast a surplus and now 10.8ha is fully closed out for surplus, provided growth stays above 45kg/day. If growth stays above 55kg/day another 6.2ha is identified to be skipped from grazing and if growth exceeds 65 kg/day, an additional 7.8ha will be closed up for silage and regrassing.  We are forecasting growth to stay around 55kg/day, so the grazing wedge with 17ha of silage excluded shows average cover of 2,253kgDM/ha, with one more week of long grass holding a 27-33 day round.
  • Cows have been offered 18kg of pasture this week, and on wet days when grass has been dirtied mobs have been moved on to a fresh break again. This has seen a handful of paddocks left at residuals of 1,850kgDM/ha+, which will be addressed next round.  Target residuals have been achieved in most paddocks between 1,500 and 1,600kgDM/ha.  The coming week’s allocation will be to advance the 18kg/cow where possible. Palm Kernel troughs were refilled last Monday with 1200kg of PKE, and cows finished nibbling this up by Friday and have had no PKE since.  One bale of silage was fed to the Colostrum/hospital mob. 
  • Milkers have been producing 2.04kgMS/cow this week on all grass. The drastic change in the fat % of milk is quite marked, as L/cow have not varied much from last week – it seems sensible, although frustrating that the Fat % plummeted as the PKE usage dwindled to nothing (5.22% down to 4.77%).  92% calved and 36 to go!  BCS of milkers scored yesterday with the mobs averaging 4.16 and 4.21.  A satisfying position to be in, with an active plan in place to keep lighter cows from losing more weight by remaining on OAD in the milking mobs.

Louise and Tom

Monday, 21 August 2017


Week ending farm notes:

  • Cover has increased to 2,367kgDM/ha with net growth of 69kg/day. Despite the intention to speed up the round, the strong growth and longer pre-grazing covers have held us out slower than the SRP for the last week.  Soil temp at 10.9 average for the week, though the frequent rain has been bothersome.
  • Feed Wedge now demonstrates a considerable surplus 2 weeks ahead, and without intervention we will continue to be grazing paddocks longer than 3,200kgDM/ha on a 35 day round. 19ha has been earmarked from silage and excluded from our grazing wedge. 5.2ha will remain out and won’t be grazed as these paddocls are already near the top end of the wedge. The remaining paddocks are in the middle of the wedge and can be re-included and grazed if we have poor growth.
  • Cows have grazed furthest blocks of the farm for a week, and; the rain, weedy pastures, variable covers and treks up the hill have played havoc with production, with cows varying from as high as 2.15kg down to 2.05kg/cow during the week. Cows also ate up to 3kg PKE/cow over the weekend during the rain and in the last 24 hours only ate 1kg PKE with their grass. 
  • The Short gestation semen used at the end of AI has created a lull as we wait for the natural matings to kick in. With only 14 cows calved in the last 7 days - 59 to go!
  • Diet on average consisted of 11kg of grass to dry cows, 2kg PKE, plus 14.5kg grass eaten (15.5kg Offered) per calved cow. For the week ahead, we’re opening up our grass allocation target to 18kg grass offered, 16.5kg grass eaten and target is to remove PKE entirely from the diet over the next 10 days.  It will now only be available to cows at two race intersections – which seriously limits the time they have to eat it.  It will be made more available if poor weather is due in.

Louise and Tom

Monday, 14 August 2017


Week ending farm notes:

 

  • Cover down slightly to 2,289 with net growth of 45kg/day. Rotation slightly slower than SRP as longer covers + smaller grass allocation required smaller areas to achieve target residuals.  Which was more “hit” than “miss” this week as we get our allocations more accurate, therefore residuals are far more consistent and at target of between 1,500-1,600kgDM/ha
  • Feed wedge once again showing a looming surplus at/around balance date due to the very strong growth and slower rotation. Wet weather, low DM% of new pasture and annuals, a small outbreak of milk fever and slightly volatile milk production has encouraged us to increase supplements and help stabilise diet of cows.  The consequence of this is we are perpetuating our grass surplus.  But we feel this is the prudent course of action to protect the cows and production.
  • Soil temp at 11 average for the week, though the consistent showers of rain have reduced sunshine hours and utilisation of pasture. Now using Ammo 36N at application rate of 70kg/ha (25kgN/ha) following the cows.  Progibb still being used where possible to protect us from poor growth over the coming weeks. Though very few paddocks meet the criteria for receiving pro-gibb (over 12 months since sown, no rain in 3-4 hours post application, and grazed within last 3 days!)
  • 84% calved and 103 replacements on hand – calving has slowed to a trickle as we head though the end of AI lull created by using short gestation semen for the last week of AI.  Production has varied throughout the week from 2.08kgMS/cow to 2.13kgMS/cow, a large drop in milk protein % and L/cow has signalled we have variable amounts of energy eaten by cows that led to the adjusted supplement rate.
  • Diet on average consisted of 3kg Grass silage and 7kg of grass to dry cows, 2.5kg PKE, plus 14kg grass per calved cow – 1 kg less than anticipated for the week (baleage has been dropped in during the day if milkers were tight to improve feeding levels).

Louise and Tom

 








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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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