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Latest Farm Walk Notes

Farm Walks are held every Tuesday morning throughout the year starting at 9.00am sharp so be there by 8.50am. Farmers or their managers and staff are welcome to walk with the Management Team, bring your platemeter and gumboots. Please phone the SIDDC office to notify of your intention: Ph: 03 423 0022.

The farm walk notes are a commentary covering the main points discussed at the weekly farm meeting held by the LUDF Management Team.  

During the milking season the farm walk notes are updated at weekly intervals, during the off-season this may occur monthly.

Tuesday, 12th September 2017

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

  1. Monitor average pasture cover and shape of the wedge on the milking platform to meet planned end of first round and achieve target pregrazing covers going into the second round. (using the spring rotation plan).
  2. Cow health and pasture management through calving
  3. Maintain a high quality of hygiene in calf sheds
  4. All new-born calves receive excellent care with regards to colostrum management, feeding, housing and health care

Next farm walk: Tuesday 19th September. 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 gumboots. Phone SIDDC – 03 423 0022. 

Peter Hancox, Farm Manager, Natalia Benquet, Chris Norton. 

Please note: LUDF Focus Day - 12th October 10.15 - 1.00pm

 

Key Numbers - week ending Tuesday 12th September 2017

Ave Past Cover

 

2413 kgDM/ha

(Rising Plate Meter)

Past Growth Rate

28 kgDM

(Rising Plate Meter)

Round length

53.3 days  (for 160 ha)

Ave Supplement used (Milking cows)

3.54kgDM/cow/day

No Cows on farm

528 (total cows)

Ave Soil Temp (week)

7.6 ⁰C

SCC

133,000

Ave kgMS/cow/day (cows in vat)

2.03 kgMS

Protein / Fat

0.83

Milk Fat - 4.81%

Milk Protein - 4%

Herd Management

  1. A total of 437 cows have calved and are grazing on farm. 411 milkers, 23 colosturms and 3 sick cow.
  2. Freshly calved colostrum cows are receiving pasture dusted with 200g of limeflour, plus Mag Chloride and Calphos through stock water. No supplement is fed to these cows.
  3. Springers are being fed pasture and also receive Mag Chloride + Calphos through the drinking water system. This follows blood tests showing low calcium and phosphorous in freshly calved cows earlier in August.
  4. All calving cows and heifers have received a B12 and Selenium shot precalving on 20th July 2016.
  5. Trace minerals and magnesium chloride are running through the stock water to all cows on the milking platform and at East block. Extra Iodine is being added to the mix.
  6. Dry cows are continuing to grazed behind the milkers to achieve target residuals. This group is now down to about 100 cows, so are taking longer to clean up paddocks.
  7. There have been no deaths this week. There were 10 new lame cows and 3 mastitis cow this week.
  8. 164 heifer replacements have been tagged so far, and 140 of them are outside. All have been dis-budded and have had a DNA sample taken.
  9. Body condition score was done on Monday 28th August. The whole herd average CS was 4.9. Dry cows averaged 5.2; 13% were below 5 and 24% were 6 or greater. Milking cows averaged 4.8 with 11% below 4.5 and 14% 5.5 or more.
  10. Average BCS and range of 95% of the milking cows (at that time) are shown in the following graph.  

BCS 12 9

  1. The herd was split on Monday 28th August. The small herd has around 129 first calving heifers and few low BCS cows. The remaining animals are all in the large herd.
  2. Yearling heifers were bled on the 31st August for pre-mating check on mineral status. This will give us enough time to address any mineral needs within this group.
  3. Milkers were Metrichecked 6th September, 10 were treated for metritis and bloods were taken.

Growing Conditions

  1. The average 9 am soil temperature has decreased to 7.6°C (8.6°C last week). There is a downward trend over the past 2 weeks.
  2. The farm received 11.6 ml of rain this past week. North block has remain relatively firm underfoot as well as much of the south block with the exception of the very bottom paddocks (S10 and adjacent paddocks mostly) which remain soft underfoot.

Figure 1: Soil temperature history for the last 2 weeks  

temperature 12 9

Figure 2: Soil moisture history for the last 2 weeks (Paddock N2). 

moisture 12 5

Feed and Pasture Management

  1. AMMO 31 has been applied to 2 more paddocks this week. To-date, 6 out of 15 grazed paddocks have had an AMMO application at a rate of 24kgN/ha.
  2. Both milking herds have been fed a little grass silage this week (average 3.5kgDM/cow/day) to slow the rotation down and attempt to regain some of the extra area grazed earlier during calving - when ground conditions were wet and the farm needed to do this to reduce pugging damage.
  3. A week ago, LUDF had grazed a total of 102 ha vs planed area grazed of 79 ha. This week only 21 ha was grazed compared to a planned area grazed of 26 ha so the total area grazed is now 123 ha. This compares a little better to planned total area grazed of 105 ha at 12 Sept. Continual feeding of some silage, along with the high pregrazing covers, and the slower calving rate will help get close to the 23 Sept target for the end of the first grazing round.
  4. A few more paddocks have been heavy rolled.
  5. Avoiding pugging damage remains a focus, and the herd will be stood on the yards if required.
  6. Calved cows are not being pushed to achieve targeted residuals, particularly in paddocks that had started to decay in the base, as later calving cows are being grazed behind the calved cows and are achieving desired residuals
  7. Pasture quality in our higher cover paddocks is now primarily under control. The highest cover is now 4000 kgDM/ha and is the next paddock the herd will go into. It is last years new grass, and while it is patchy (reflecting dung and urine patches) there is only minor decay in the base. (see photos)
photo 1 photo 2

 

 

Figure 3: This week’s feed wedge

wedge 12 9

  1. The pregrazing required for the demand line is calculated using the target APC and residual to back-calculate pregrazng covers: (Average pasture cover for this date – residual) + average pasture cover = pregrazing cover - ie: (2490-1650)+2490= 3330 kgDM/ha.
  2. Last week small surplus grass has now disappeared with the current feed wedge showing virtually no surplus (or deficit) on Pasture Coach
  3. Below is our Pasture Road map to track covers through this period.  The farm is now a little below the target average pasture cover, reflecting the slow regrowth of grazed paddocks (as seen in the wedge above). The use of supplements now is to allow more time for regrowth before entering the second grazing round and thus avoid falling into a large feed deficit before balance date. 

roadmap 12 9

  1. Below is our plan vs actual SRP

SRP 12 9

  1. Our Spring Rotation Planner started on the 25th July and the first round is planned to end on / about 25 September.
  1. Below is the target vs actual total area grazed and supplement used: 

table 12 9

 APC is now below target APC, and the farm has grazed 19 ha more than the target total area grazed in the Spring Rotation Planner for this date. Given the weather conditions we have had to graze the farm at a faster round than planned, which has placed us about 5 days ahead with respect to the end of first round. However, the higher-than-planned average pasture cover has allowed us to do this without relying on supplements for the first 7 weeks of calving.

  1. Later calving cows are still cleaning up some paddocks. This is more cost effective even considering the use of silage for milkers, as the material the drys are eating is not high quality milking feed, and these cows would otherwise be off the platform incurring winter grazing costs. Calved cows are increasingly expected to eat down to a lower residual than previous weeks but due to some remaining higher covers they are struggling to get desired residuals in some paddocks.

Feeding Management for the coming month

  1. Milkers will continue to be fed on grass with a little grass silage over the next 2-3 weeks to ensure the second round paddocks have the greatest time and ability to get to target pregrazing covers.
  2. As growth rates increase (ie soil temperatures rise, soil moisture declines below field capacity), supplement use will be modified. Minimal / no rain is forecast for the next week, so the more area we can recover from the SRP target the better the situation will be if we need to again increase the area grazed due to wet ground conditions.
  3. AMMO will continue to be applied through the week as weather allows and whole paddocks become available.
  4. Later calving cows will still be used behind the milkers if required. 

Datasheet

LUDF Weekly report

15-Aug-17

22-Aug-17

29-Aug-17

5-Sep-17

12-Sep-17

Farm grazing ha (available to milkers)

160

160

160

160

160

Dry Cows on farm / East blk /Jackies/other

0/164/178/0

157/104/0/0

143/79/0/0

128/36/0/0

104/35/0

Culls (Includes culls put down & empties)

0

0

1

0

0

Culls total to date

4

4

5

5

5

Deaths (Includes cows put down)

1

0

0

0

0

Deaths total to date

10

10

10

10

10

Calved Cows available (Peak No 560…)

239

305

357

400

437

Treatment / Sick mob   total

0

2

1

4

3

Mastitis clinical treatment

0

2

1

4

3

Mastitis clinical YTD (tgt below 64 yr end)

4

6

7

11

14

Bulk milk SCC (tgt Avg below 150)

170

184

135

122

133

Lame new cases

1

2

8

0

10

Lame   ytd

2

4

12

12

22

Lame days YTD (Tgt below 1000 yr end)

10

10

10

10

10

Other/Colostrum

53

34

41

29

23

Milking twice a day into vat

182

267

321

364

411

Milking once a day into vat

0

0

0

0

0

Small herd

0

0

124

126

132

Main Herd

182

267

197

238

279

MS/cow/day (Actual kg / Cows into vat only)

1.52

1.72

1.88

1.99

2.03

Milk Protein/Fat ratio

0.83

 0.83

0.85 

 0.82

0.83 

Milk Fat %

5.01

 5.04

 4.92

4.9

4.81

Milk Protein %

4.16

 4.2

 4.16

 4.02

 4.00

MS/cow to date (total kgs / Peak Cows 560

2

10

15

25

33

MS/ha/day (total kgs / ha used

1.35

2.31

2.46

4.69

4.78

Herd Average Cond'n Score

 

 

4.80

0.00

0.00

Monitor group  LW kg WOW 281 early calvers

 

 

452

0

456

Soil Temp  Avg Aquaflex

8.2

7.3

7.3

8.6

7.6

Growth Rate (kgDM/ha/day)

15

27

38

38

28

Plate meter height - ave half-cms

17.6

17.0

15.8

14.4

13.7

Ave Pasture Cover  (x140 + 500)

2968

2875

2706

2521

2413

Surplus/[defict] on feed wedge- tonnes

0

0

0

0

0

Pre Grazing cover (ave for week)

4200

3880

3835

3737

3700

Post Grazing cover (ave for week)

1650

1650

1650

1650

1650

Highest pregrazing cover

4200

3880

4050

4050

4000

Area grazed / day (ave for week)

1.70

3.58

2.92

4.14

3.00

Grazing Interval

94

45

55

39

53

Milkers Offered/grazed  kg DM pasture

 

 

 

 

 

Estimated intake pasture  MJME

 

 

 

 

 

Milkers offered  kg DM Grass silage

 

 

 

 

 

Silage MJME/cow offered

 

 

 

 

 

Estimated intake Silage  MJME

 

 

 

 

 

Estimated total intake  MJME

 

 

 

 

 

Target total MJME Offered/eaten (includes 6% waste)

 

 

 

 

 

Pasture ME (pre grazing sample)

 

 

12.1

 

 

Pasture % Protein

 

 

18.9

 

 

Pasture % DM - Concern below 16%

 

 

19.2

 

 

Pasture % NDF  Concern < 33

 

 

38

 

 

Mowed pre or post grazing YTD

 

 

 

 

 

Total area mowed YTD

 

 

 

 

 

Supplements fed to date kg per cow (555peak)

 

 

 

 

17.3

Supplements Made Kg DM / ha cumulative

 

 

 

 

0

Units N applied/ha and % of farm

 

 

 

 

25units/20.5%

Kgs N to Date (whole farm)

 

 

 

 

6

Rainfall   (mm)

47.2

20.4

 

13.2

11.6

Aquaflex topsoil relative to fill point target 60 - 80%

100-100

100-100

100-100

100-100

100-100

Tuesday, 5th September 2017

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

  1. Monitor average pasture cover and shape of the wedge on the milking platform to meet planned cover through first grazing round (using the spring rotation plan).
  2. Cow health and pasture management through calving
  3. Maintain a high quality of hygiene in calf sheds
  4. All new-born calves receive excellent care with regards to colostrum management, feeding, housing and health care

Next farm walk: Tuesday 5th September. 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 gumboots. Phone SIDDC – 03 423 0022.

Peter Hancox, Farm Manager, Natalia Benquet, Chris Norton. 

Key Numbers - week ending Tuesday 5th September 2017

Ave Past Cover

 

2521 kgDM/ha

(Rising Plate Meter)

Past Growth Rate

38 kgDM

(Rising Plate Meter)

Round length

38.6 days  (for 160 ha)

Ave Supplement used (Milking cows)

0

No Cows on farm

528

Ave Soil Temp (week)

8.6 ⁰C

SCC

122,000

Ave kgMS/cow/day (cows in vat)

1.99 kgMS

Herd Management

  1. A total of 400 cows have calved and are grazing on farm. 364 milkers, 29 colosturms and 4 sick cow.
  2. 29 freshly calved colostrum cows are receiving pasture dusted with 100g of magnesium oxide and 200g of limeflour, and are receiving pasture only with no supplementary feeds
  3. Springers are being fed pasture with 100g of magnesium oxide and 100g of DCP dusted on their daily silage. This follows blood tests showing low calcium and phosphorous in freshly calved cows earlier in August.
  4. All calving cows and heifers have received a B12 and Selenium shot precalving on 20th July 2016.
  5. Trace minerals and magnesium chloride are running through the stock water to all cows on the milking platform and at East block. Extra Iodine will be added to the mix.
  6. All dry cows are now back from grazing and as ground conditions allow are grazing behind the milkers to achieve target residuals. If required they can be moved to a nearby lease grazing block.  
  7. There have been no deaths this week. There were no lame cows and 4 mastitis cow this week.
  8. 155 heifer replacements have been tagged so far, and 120 of them are outside. All have been dis-budded and have had a DNA sample taken.
  9. Body condition score was done on Monday 28th August. The whole herd average CS was 4.9. Dry cows averaged 5.2 with 13% below 5 and 24% were 6 or greater. Milking cows averaged 4.8 with 11% below 4.5 and 14% 5.5 or more.
  10. Average BCS and range of 95% of the milking cows as at 28th August are shown in the following graph.  

calving spread 5 9

  1. The herd was split on Monday 28th August. The small herd has around 126 first calving heifers and few low BCS cows. The remaining animals are all in the large herd.
  2. Yearling heifers were bled on the 31st August for pre-mating check on mineral status. This will give us enough time to address any mineral needs within this group.
  3. Milkers will be Metrichecked tomorrow (August calvers) and bloods will be taken.

Growing Conditions

  1. The average 9 am soil temperature has increased to 8.6°C (7.3°C last week).
  2. The farm received 13.2 ml of rain this past week, which has made North block a bit soft underfoot and has kept the South block quite wet still.

Figure 1: Soil temperature history for the last 2 weeks  

temperature 5 9

Figure 2: Soil moisture history for the last 2 weeks (Paddock N2). 

moisture 5 9

Pasture and Feed Management

  1. No more paddocks have been able to be heavy rolled.
  2. Pasture quality in our higher cover paddocks is now primarily under control. The highest cover at this stage is 3700 kgDM/ha.
  3. Paddocks grazed last in May are growing well with little evidence of nutrient shortages holding back growth.
  4. Avoiding pugging damage remains a focus, and the herd will be stood on the yards if required.
  5.  Calved cows are not being pushed to achieve targeted residuals, as later calving cows are being grazed behind the calved cows and are achieving desired residuals.  

Figure 3: This week’s feed wedge  

wedge 5 9

  1. The pregrazing required for the demand line is calculated using the target APC and residual: (target cover for this date – 1650 (residual)) + target pasture cover for this date: (2470-1650)+2470= 3290kgDM/ha.
  2. Last week surplus grass has now almost disappeared, with an excess feed available on Pasture Coach of only 8 tDM total.
  3. Below is our Pasture Road map to track covers through this period.  The farm is now almost there in terms of actual APC vs planned APC.  

Road Map 5 9

  1. Below is our plan vs actual SRP  

APC 5 9

  1. Our Spring Rotation Planner started on the 25th July and is planned to end on / about 25 September.
  2. Below is the target vs actual total area grazed and supplement used:  

chart 5 9

  1. APC is catching up to the target APC, however the farm has grazed 23 ha more than the target total area grazed to date. Given the weather conditions we have had to graze the farm at a faster round than planned, which has placed us about 5 days ahead with respect to the end of first round. However, the higher-than-planned average pasture cover has allowed us to do this without the need for any supplement to date. Additionally, the Spring rotation plan does not include grazing dry cows behind the milkers as has happened over the past few weeks.
  2. Potentially finishing the first round early is likely to require more silage at the beginning of the second round if pregrazing covers aren’t adequate.
  3. The farm still has an option to slow the area grazed per day for the remainder of the first round (by using some silage) and enable a delay in the start of the second round. This would let the pregrazing covers get closer to target and potentially enable the farm to grow its way out of any feed deficit in the second round.
  4. The actual calving rate over the next two weeks will also influence this through the feed demand as the farm is again 50 cows behind on calved cows compared to estimated calving dates. 

Feeding Management for the coming month

  1. Milkers will be fully fed on grass, with the area allocated per day managed according to both planned area on the spring rotation plan, pregrazing cover, and ground conditions. Potentially more area could be allocated if necessary to avoid pugging.
  2. Supplements remain available to be fed if growth slows down through the week and APC drops too far next week, or to slow the round down. At present the weather forecast for this week seems to have no rain in it, so the decision will be made as required.
  3.  Later calving cows will still be used behind the milkers if required. 

 

Datasheet

LUDF Weekly report

8-Aug-17

15-Aug-17

22-Aug-17

29-Aug-17

5-Sep-17

Farm grazing ha (available to milkers)

160

160

160

160

160

Dry Cows on farm / East blk /Jackies/other

0/148/0/234

0/164/178/0

157/104/0/0

143/79/0/0

128/36/0/0

Culls (Includes culls put down & empties)

0

0

0

1

0

Culls total to date

4

4

4

5

5

Deaths (Includes cows put down)

3

1

0

0

0

Deaths total to date

9

10

10

10

10

Calved Cows available (Peak Number 560…)

160

239

305

357

400

Treatment / Sick mob   total

8

0

2

1

4

Mastitis clinical treatment

4

0

2

1

4

Mastitis clinical YTD (tgt below 64 yr end)

4

4

6

7

11

Bulk milk SCC (tgt Avg below 150)

210

170

184

135

122

Lame new cases

0

1

2

8

0

Lame   ytd

1

2

4

12

12

Lame days YTD (Tgt below 1000 yr end)

3

10

10

10

10

Other/Colostrum

37

53

34

41

29

Milking twice a day into vat

110

182

267

321

364

Milking once a day into vat

5

0

0

0

0

Small herd

0

0

0

124

126

Main Herd

110

182

267

197

238

MS/cow/day (Actual kg / Cows into vat only)

1.78

1.52

1.72

1.88

1.99

Milk Protein/Fat ratio

.74

.83

 

 

 

Milk Fat %

5.62

5.01

 

 

 

Milk Protein %

4.16

4.16

 

 

 

MS/cow to date (total kgs / Peak Cows 560

2

2

10

15

25

MS/ha/day (total kgs / ha used

0.81

1.35

2.31

2.46

4.69

Herd Average Cond'n Score

 

 

 

4.80

0.00

Monitor group  LW kg WOW 281 early calvers

 

 

 

452

 

Soil Temp  Avg Aquaflex

7.3

8.2

7.3

7.3

8.6

Growth Rate (kgDM/ha/day)

42

15

27

38

38

Plate meter height - ave half-cms

19.4

17.6

17.0

15.8

14.4

Ave Pasture Cover  (x140 + 500)

3222

2968

2875

2706

2521

Surplus/[defict] on feed wedge- tonnes

0

0

0

0

0

Pre Grazing cover (ave for week)

4200

4200

3880

3835

3737

Post Grazing cover (ave for week)

1950

1650

1650

1650

1650

Highest pregrazing cover

4200

4200

3880

4050

4050

Area grazed / day (ave for week)

1.01

1.70

3.58

2.92

4.14

Grazing Interval

158

94

45

55

39

Milkers Offered/grazed  kg DM pasture

 

 

 

 

 

Estimated intake pasture  MJME

 

 

 

 

 

Milkers offered  kg DM Grass silage

 

 

 

 

 

Silage MJME/cow offered

 

 

 

 

 

Estimated intake Silage  MJME

 

 

 

 

 

Estimated total intake  MJME

 

 

 

 

 

Target tot MJME Offer/eaten (incl 6% waste)

 

 

 

 

 

Pasture ME (pre grazing sample)

12.2

 

 

12.1

 

Pasture % Protein

18.9

 

 

18.9

 

Pasture % DM - Concern below 16%

16.6

 

 

19.2

 

Pasture % NDF  Concern < 33

39.1

 

 

38

 

Mowed pre or post grazing YTD

 

 

 

 

 

Total area mowed YTD

 

 

 

 

 

Supplements fed to date kg per cow (555peak)

 

 

 

 

 

Supplements Made Kg DM / ha cumulative

 

 

 

 

 

Units N applied/ha and % of farm

 

 

 

 

 

Kgs N to Date (whole farm)

 

 

 

 

 

Rainfall   (mm)

2

47.2

20.4

 

13.2

Aquaflex topsoil relative to fill point target 60 - 80%

100-100

100-100

100-100

100-100

100-100

Previous months Farm Walk Notes

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