Tuesday 22nd May 2018
LUDF – focus for 2017/18 Season: Nil-Infrastructure, low input, low N-loss, maximise profit.
Farm system comprises 3.5 cows/ha (peak milked), Target up to 170kgN/ha, 300kgDM/cow imported supplement, plus winter most cows off farm. FWE of less than $1.1 million and Target production of over 500kgMS/cow (>100% liveweight in milk production).
Critical issues for the short term
- Managing average pasture cover / cow intakes / residuals
- Meeting APC cover target achieved at the end of May.
- Drying off cows with targeted use of Dry Cow Therapy
- Start setting the farm and herd up for next season with round length and BCS monitoring and management.
Next Farm Walk - Tuesday 29th May 2018. Farmers or their managers and staff are always welcome to walk with us. Please call to notify us of your intention and bring your plate meter and clean gumboots. Phone SIDDC – 03 423 0022.
Peter Hancox, Farm Manager, Natalia Benquet, Chris Norton.
Please note – All visitors to the farm are now required to use boot washing facilities and disinfectant mat on arrival (and recommended to use on departure).
- The milking herd has a total of 309 cows in milk - 304 twice-a-day milkers, and 4 once-a-day milkers (lames). 1 mastitis cow.
- All cull cows were dried off last week 30 culls went to the works and remainder 75 culls are being used to clean up behind main herd. In total, 123 light CS / early calving cows (and some lame / low production cows). All dry cows are now grazing on farm. Total demand is based on 507 cows on farm.
- Bulk milk testing in April showed a low SP ratio indicating there has been no change of LUDFs BVD status ie LUDF remains BVD free.
- Johnes screening using the herd test milk samples has identified 7 Johnes positive cows (confirmed through blood tests). These have been added to the cull list (one is empty).
- Trace minerals, including magnesium chloride are supplemented through the stock water to all cows on the milking platform extra selenium and iodine is also being added to increase levels pre winter.
- 4 new lame cows this week no new mastitis cases
- The farm now has 1 main herd plus the OAD herd. Culls still on farm are following the main herd and will be expected to clean up to a better residual behind the millking herd. The lighter early calving cows have been brought back onto the platform to help eat some surplus grass so as to get us to our target of 1900 at dry off.
- R2 heifers were teat sealed on the 19th April. They have now been moved to their winter grazing. They were weighed drenched and received a B-12 plus selenium
- R1 calves were weighed drenched and received a B-12 plus selenium and also given their lepto boster
- The average liveweight of the cows in milk is 503 Kg
- 429 MA - In-Calf cows were condition scored on Tuesday 22 May. The average CS of these cows was 4.4 CS. This is a small increase on the average of the herd in late April, but a slightly wider spread in CS, as below (and a smaller total number cows that were scored).
- Of the cows available for CS on 22 May, the number of cows at BCS 4.0 or below had decreased from 290 to 218, and the number of cows at 5.0 BCS or above had increased from 63 to 81. Total cow numbers had also decreased from 489 as culls were not CS.
- The average 9 am soil temperature decreased from an average of 11°C last week to 8.8°C this week.
- 16.4 mm’s of rainfall occurred this week which has been enough to keep the farm soft under foot.
- This week’s graph represents the reading from the North Block moisture meters.
Pasture and feed management
- Nitrogen applications finished on farm back in late March, as growth is now much more influenced by temperature than N.
- The total average Nitrogen application across the whole farm for the season is 178 kgN/ha.
- No silage fed over the last week.
- The farm grazed an average of 5.10 ha/day, giving a round length of 31 days.
- Below is our autumn spring tracker that we will monitor over the next 6 months. The plan is to finish the season with an Average Pasture Cover of 1900Kg DM/ha which is lower than previous seasons. This is anticipating similar winter growth as in recent years (and acknowledges the amount of the farm in more winter active - hybrid perennial ryegrasses). The target APC at the end of July remains at 2600kgDM/ha and requires an average growth rate over the winter of 11.5kgDM/ha/day.
- Average Pasture Cover decreased from2149 kgDM/ha to 2003 kgDM/ha, but is still 36kgDM/ha above the target for 22 May.
- The pregrazing target above (2300kgDM/ha) shows the target for the farm at the end of May -ie to achieve an average of 1900kgDM/ha and post grazing residuals of 1500 requires pregrazing cover of 2300 (a significant surplus above current demand).
Feeding management for the coming week
- Milkers will continue to be fed on grass to ensure we reach our dry off target of 1900 at the end of May.
- In practice the farm has nearly 103 kgDM/ha decrease in APC to achieve over the next 6 days (the herd is booked to depart for winter grazing on 28th May.
- Decreasing APC from current level of 2003 kgDM/ha to 1900 = 103 kgDM/ha x 160 ha = 16,480kgDM.
- This is equivalent to nearly 32 kgDM/cow or 5.4 kgDM/cow/day for 6 days.
- At the current stocking rate of 3.1 cows/ha this is approximately 17 kgDM/ha/day available feed from decreasing APC.
- A growth rate of 20kg DM/ha /day + decrease in APC of 17 kgDM/ha/day provides an average intake from pasture of 12 kgDM/cow/day.
- This appears realistic as the farm will begin to tighten feed supply and dry off in approximately 6 days.
- Pasture regrowth appears to be of good quality, with cows achieving good (and timely) grazing residuals.
- The farm continues to hold culls on farm. As noted above they are following the main herd to achieve target postgrazing residuals for the end of May.