Monday, 4 December 2017


Week ending farm notes

04 December

·        Cover has increased this week to 2369kgDM/ha with the whole farm growing 69kgDM/ha/day.  Cows have grazed 3.7ha/day this is equivalent to a 40 day round of the whole farm or 37day round of the paddocks held in the grazing round for the last week (137 ha). The large change in rotation occurred as we grazed off the very long silage paddocks. In the coming days we will return to approximately a 30-34 day round of the 137Ha in grass at approx. 4.5-4.0Ha/day.

·        With 70mm of rain in the second half of the week an increase in growth has occurred over last week, however the biggest change in cover comes from the small area of the farm grazed. 

·        The feed wedge  gives hints of a surplus several weeks out but we are considering the option to defer graze several of the silage paddocks (just eaten this week) for standing hay to manage this if necessary.  Brassica crops are looking fantastic after their drink of rain.

·       Milkers have been producing an average of 1.52 kgMS/cow this week ranging from 1.56kg/cow to 1.48kg/cow.  With the heat and the slightly poorer quality grass in the silage paddocks being the biggest influencer of production.  Cows frequently chose to cease grazing and seek shade in the hot weather that occurred – the visible effects of heat stress are difficult to miss at the moment.

·       Cows have been allocated 18kg of pasture this week though disappearance is closer to 17kg/cow/day as most of this week’s pasture was in very long silage paddocks.  Residuals in these paddocks was longer than target with a lot of stem left behind, however the tops of all seed/stem has been eaten and all available leaf well foraged. The regrowth is rapid and leafy from the base of the plant and we believe the remnant stem will be manageable by grazing early in the coming round and mown as a last resort.  PKE supplementation did not start in the past week, but will be introduced this week and cows will be offered 17kg of pasture/day

 

Monday, 27 November 2017


Week ending farm notes

 

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·        Cover has decreased this week to 2255kgDM/ha with the whole farm growing 57kgDM/ha/day.  Cows have grazed 5.6ha/day this is equivalent to a 27 day round of the whole farm or 23day round of the paddocks held in the grazing round for the last week (127 ha).  11ha were excluded from the wedge for silage, but in the coming week will be grazed off.

·       Cows appear to have been allocated 17.5kg of pasture this week, and on most days have sought any shade available in the heat of the day reducing the amount of time spent grazing.  Milkers have been producing an average of 1.59 kgMS/cow this week ranging from 1.66kg/cow to 1.54kg/cow.  The week ahead will see allocations lifted slightly with the long grass ahead, and introduction of PKE when it fits from Friday onwards at 1kg/cow.

·        With a rapidly drying farm, cows have grazed to just under 1500kgDM/ha twice this week, and closer to 1600kgDM/ha several times as well.  The nature of grass at the moment means accurately predicting the cover is proving a challenge.  As such the decision to eat off our previous surplus is an easy one to make.  Holding the slowest possible round right now is vital to maximise growth.

·        The feed wedge surplus at the top of the wedge is to be eaten in the coming week, and will stretch our round out to 33 days of the area in grass on farm, with all grass paddocks in rotation.  This should create a nice breathing space for the other paddocks on the farm to grow quietly in the current weather.

·        Soil temp has lifted rapidly this week, and considerable areas of the farm are burning off in pasture.  See images attached.

 

 

Monday, 20 November 2017


Week ending farm notes

 

Nov

·        Cover has increased this week to 2308kgDM/ha with the whole farm growing 82kgDM/ha/day.  Cows have grazed just over 5ha/day this is equivalent to a 27 day round of the whole farm or 23day round of the paddocks held in the grazing round (127 ha).  11ha are removed from the wedge for silage.

·        The long covers from last week have been grazed through, and had a small impact on production in the poorest quality paddocks.  2 paddocks were post-grazed mowed for weed management (Dock and Californian thistles). 

·        The feed wedge shows a small surplus at the top of the wedge.  It still forecasts a potential deficit 10 days out, however with the need to begin feeding PKE in 10 days this will hopefully line up nicely with shorter pre-grazing covers to maintain our residuals.  The current paddocks noted in surplus are being used to maintain quality in front of the cows.  Should growth rates drop quickly and the budgeted PKE be insufficient, these paddocks will be mowed back into the round and grazed.

·        Cows have been allocated 18kg to 18.5kg of pasture this week, with plenty of seed head in all paddocks.  Where allocation was closer to 18.5kg/cow residuals have lifted closer to 1600kgDM/ha without appreciable increases in production.  We will offer 18.5kg/cow in the coming week unless residuals come up at which point total allocation will reduce to 18kg/cow.  The very dry nature of pasture and the top inch of soil is encouraging to maintain a conservative approach to feed allocation.

·       Milkers have been producing an average of 1.73 kgMS/cow this week ranging from 1.67kg/cow to 1.80kg/cow with a very volatile fat % being the biggest influencer on production as litres and protein have been quite consistent.  One cow was lost to bloat this week despite bloat oil in the trough for some time.  It was the paddock with the most clover on the farm.

 

Monday, 13 November 2017


Week ending farm notes

 

 

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        Cover has decreased this week to 2220kgDM/ha as silage was harvested.  The grazing area (excluding the silage area) has increased in cover this week from 2273kgDM/ha last week, to 2324kgDM/ha this week with the whole farm growing 80kgDM/ha/day.  Cows have grazed just under 5ha/day this is equivalent to a 30 day round of the whole farm or 24day round of the paddocks held in the grazing round.

        Pre-graze mowing of 1 paddock has occurred to re-establish an appropriate residual, 2 other paddocks were topped post-grazing to remove significant weed seed.  Post-grazing residuals this week have been between 1475 and 1550kgDM/ha. 

        As we had hoped, cows have lifted in production throughout the week on the increased pre-grazing covers.  With all of the first silage now mowed and back in the wedge, 3 long paddocks have been excluded for a 2nd silage cut, with a handful of others earmarked to exclude if strong growth persists.

It seems strange to drop more silage on a wedge with a hole in it – but in reality if we stick to our current grazed area ~5ha/day, this will keep us on a 27 day round of the paddocks that are in grass.  This will continue to maximise our growth and we will end up with extra-long pre-grazing or making more silage.  As we want the extra silage anyway, planning where we need it is critical so we’re proactively predicting silage.      

This also acts as a pressure relief valve to help manage the top end of the wedge.  Massive growth has kept up in front of us and the longest paddocks can’t be mowed so Tom is adjusting areas allocated to hit residual through tricky paddocks.

        Cows have been allocated 18.5kg of pasture this week, with plenty of seed head in all paddocks.  Pasture samples taken showed pasture quality ranging from 11.6MJME/kgDM to 12.3MJME/kgDM.

       Milkers have been producing an average of 1.76 kgMS/cow this week ranging from 1.73kg/cow to 1.79kg/cow and climbing throughout the week which is pleasing.

       AB is now complete and bulls are out with the herd.

Monday, 6 November 2017


Week ending farm notes:

 

WEB

·        Cover has increased this week to 2,488kgDM/ha with net growth of 85kg/day.  Cows have been on an average of a 30 day round of the farm/23 day round of the area in the grazing round. Silage area has stretched to 14.25ha including the Italians near the shed and that is the end of paddocks to be included in this silage cut – booked in 10 days time.

·        Pre-graze mowing of 4 more paddocks has occurred in winter-wet areas, to re-establish an appropriate residual.  Post-grazing residuals this week have been between 1500 and 1550kgDM/ha.  Unlike the last 3 weeks where we moved cows on if we felt their break was finished and sped up the round we have held closer to 5ha/day.  This was a decision in large part due to the slow decrease in length of our pre-grazing covers on the slightly quicker rounds we had experienced. 

·        Even in the lower residuals achieved, there is still much evidence of small amounts of un-grazed pasture indicating we are offering close to sufficient grass ahead.  While this has been less total feed offered, than the more generous allocation of the previous 3 weeks, it has been in far more favourable conditions with much better utilisation.  With seed-head rife across the farm, there is no room for lax-residuals and we’ve pressed the herd a little harder.

·        The feed wedge shows the surplus sitting at the top of the wedge, plus 2 paddocks now occupied solely by calves.  The grazing wedge has filled in much more nicely than last week and pre-grazing covers are about 75-100kgDM/ha longer than last week.  We expect that we can increase total intake slightly in the coming days as a consequence of our actions in the last 7 days.

·        Cows have been allocated 18kg of pasture this week, and there has been a fast and dramatic change to the composition of what is being offered.  75% of the farm is now covered in seed head, which represents a low quality component that is about 1/3 of the feed available at the moment.

·       Milkers have been producing an average of 1.75 kgMS/cow this week ranging from 1.82kg/cow to 1.69kg/cow. 

 

 

 

 

Monday, 23 October 2017


Week ending farm notes

 

 

·        Cover has decreased this week to 2,408kgDM/ha with net growth of 81kg/day.  This week, cows have been on an average of a 25 day round of the farm/ 19 day round of the area in the grazing round. Silage area has reduced by .7ha as one paddock was grazed.  The accelerated round came from grazing a number of mid-top wedge paddocks earlier to maintain quality in those difficult paddocks and nipping of the undersown paddocks again. Cows have now returned to being offered 5ha/day or a 23 day round of the area in the grazing round (114ha of total 148ha).

·        The feed wedge still shows a sizeable surplus– evident in the long covers on hand now.  The grazing wedge appears to show a looming deficit once silage paddocks are removed.  This is a function of the large number of paddocks grazed within the week and thinned out the bottom of the wedge and possibly some inaccuracy of assessing residuals of pastures grazed this week.  The base of the pastures is firming up and plating higher, but to the eye is still grazing to the residual of the last grazing.. Growth of 60kg/day or higher for the next 7 days will fill this potential deficit completely or yield further surplus.

·        Cows have been allocated 19kg of pasture again this week, and residuals have varied between 1500-1750kgDM/ha, with higher residuals left in nipped off paddocks or in the very long pre-grazings of the week. These paddocks are destined to go be mowed ahead of harvesting in the next round (cows or silage).  Seed head is now coming up through the base of many paddocks, and the focus on quality is now critical.  Where necessary to re-establish a residual paddocks will be mowed ahead of cows in the coming week.

·       Milkers have been producing an average of 1.94kgMS/cow this week ranging from 1.97kg/cow to 1.92kg/cow. 

·      The first 3 weeks of AI was completed last Wednesday with an 87.2% Submission rate. As we move into the 2nd round of AI daily submissions are a combination of as-yet-un-submitted cows and some returns. 

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








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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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