Tuesday, 12 February 2019


Week ending farm notes 12-2-19

  • Cover has decreased this week as expected to average 2049kgDM/ha with growth averaging 24kgDM/ha for the week.
  • Critical Pasture management decisions:
    • Rotation has stretched slightly to around 35 days of the grass area, and is a convenient allocation based on varying paddock sizes.
    • We will remain on this round and feeding regime until Feb 20th when Turnips finish.
    • Between now and then we will be unlikely to add more supplement as pasture levels begin decrease in the daily allocations. We are being careful with our silage resource and will only bump it up when the turnips end. 
    • We are looking to exit approximately 35 of 57 culls in the next 2-3 weeks to avoid a feedbudget pressure point.
    • It is likely the remaining cows will move to OAD milking as the turnips end for practicality purposes
    • Crop allocation has reduced to 3kgDM/cow/day and we can continue this until Feb 20th
    • Paddocks and existing pasture are heavily burned off now and we are continuing to “eat the remaining grass” in paddocks
  • Production has wobbled around 1.44kgMS/day this week, with 4 cows out of the vat with mastitis, and one mastitis cull removed from the herd last Tuesday. We remain with 220 cows on OAD milking.
  • Reproductive update – final scan was completed this week and we have recorded 48 cows of the 397 left on farm as not in calf. We are pleased with an improvement over the 17% not in calf last year.
    Disappointingly, we had cause to re-scan 5 cows that were scanned in-calf to 6 weeks before Christmas and confirm that they have slipped since the 20 December scan.  So of our 12% empty, we can say that 10.8% of these cows didn’t have a recorded pregnancy occur.  Another 1.2% of the herd were scanned in-calf to 6 weeks and later aborted/slipped before the February scan.
  • Heat stress in the herd this past week has remained quite intense. On average impacted production by around 0.75kg (75gMS)/cow/day (29kgMS/day).  We are actively planning strategies where cows have shade access throughout the day.
  • Both herd are milked between 5 and 7am and are fully wet under the sprinkler in the dark hours and then they travel a short distance to the crop paddocks by the shed for silage and PKE, then after milking allowed onto their turnips.
    At 11am OAD cows return to the yard for an hour of sprinkle time and at noon head for their night paddock.
    As the OAD cows leave, the TAD herd enters the yard for an hour of sprinkle time, then milking, then away to a night paddock.
  • Adjustment of milking times for heat management has been convenient and cows appear to enjoy the regime also, with no reduction in milk, and no major challenges in cell count. They also remain on the yard as long as possible post milking for sprinkling and then walk more freely away to the paddocks.  Staff days are not longer, in fact everyone is enjoying not having to move the cows mid- morning from a grass break to turnips.
  • Cows are now moving to full rate zinc in dosatron as we see the pasture burn off and a likely reduction in grazing residuals in the near future. and spore counts last week were at between 0 and 10k

 

Burn off on top terrace sand below (spot the duck!) then tonight's pre-graze and wedge.

 

 

Tuesday, 5 February 2019


Week ending farm notes 4-2-19

 

Longest grass, dried off bottom block and wedge

Monday, 21 January 2019


Week ending farm notes 21-1-19

  • Cover has climbed this week to average 2083kgDM/ha with growth averaging 45kgDM/ha for the week, and we continue to anticipate this dropping along with our soil moisture. 
  • Critical Pasture management decisions:
    • Rotation has slowed during the week from 24 days to 37 days of the farm area, and averaged 30 days this past week. 37 days (2ha for large herd and 1.6ha for small herd), is a convenient allocation based on varying paddock sizes.  We will remain on this round and feeding regime for one more week with the wedge we have in front of us. 
    • Adjusting crop allocations over the coming week down to 4kg turnips/cow/day and noting higher dry matter of 10-11% in our recent samples.  The reduced allocation is more to extend the window in which we can feed turnips through all of February so we are now rationing these out.
    • We will offset the reduction in turnips with more PKE and silage in the day feed. 
    • We have 8ha of grass at the run-off that we will likely graze this time with the herd.  We count this as bought in feed (recorded as off farm grazing) and this will help ensure we don’t graze any paddocks in the wedge earlier than we should, as we can hold the big herd up for 4 days in the coming week.
  • In 1 week we will move into February decisions. 
    • The small herd will become a wholly OAD herd and not return to shed.  This includes the current 72 cows, plus another 50-70 of the most-at-risk based on BCS and expected calving date.
    • Grass allocation will reduce to 8kg/cow/day and silage will increase to 5-6kg, plus 4kg turnips and 3kg PKE
    • Overnight silage/pke to match with reduced pasture allocation will likely be fed in grazed turnip paddocks to make life easy.
  • Production has wobbled around 1.51kgMS/day this week, with 2 cows out of the vat with mastitis and 72 cows now on OAD milking.  The major change in production is the fat test due to PKE introduction.  FEI remains at an A – but is rising towards a B.
  • Heat stress in the herd this past week was less with cooler temperatures, and on average impactedproduction by around 0.03kg (30gMS)/cow/day (12kgMS/day)
  • Adjustment of milking times for heat management has been convenient and cows appear to enjoy the regime also, with no reduction in milk, challenges in cell count.  They also remain on the yard as long as possible post milking for sprinkling and then walk more freely away to the paddocks.  Staff days are not longer, in fact everyone is enjoying not having to move the cows mid- morning from a grass break to turnips.

1 week of regowth below, then silage smaple, then wedge

Monday, 7 January 2019


Week ending farm notes 7-1-19

  • Cover has dropped a lot this week with silage being cut to average 2044kgDM/ha with growth averaging 65kgDM/ha for the week. On the area kept in the grazing rotation for the week cover has dropped only slightly, from 2238 to 2176kgDM/ha.
  • Critical Pasture management decisions:
    • Dropping soil moisture and increasing soil temperature have now begun to reduce growth so rotation will slow along with this.
    • We have been on a 23 day rotation of the area in grass (includes silage paddocks), this will extend towards 28-30 days this week. With the silage area removed we were on an 18 day round of the paddocks kept in the grazing round.
    • 16 paddocks (29ha) have been cut for silage today along with the run-off areas into a summer stack.
    • Residuals with the cows are grazing between 1500 and 1575kgDM/ha.
  • We have an effective farm area this year of 147ha, allocated as follows:
    • 10ha in summer brassica crop
    • 137ha in grass including the 6ha of hay crop
    • 131ha is available to graze between now and February after hay area removed effectively in our current grazing rotation
  • For the week ahead we have 402 cows on farm on a grazing area of 131ha = 3.02cows/ha.
  • Pasture offered will now decrease on average to 14kgDM, with approximately 5kgDM of crop being fed to all cows.
    • Forecast pasture demand is therefore currently 42kgDM/cha/day (Stocking rate x pasture offered = 3.02* 14)
    • Forecast pasture demand is still below growth and the hole in the wedge will close up, allowing us to extend our round over 30 days quite quickly without the need for a large injection of additional supplements
  • This past week the herds grazed 5.8ha/day equivalent to a 25 day round of the whole farm or 17 days of the 102ha in the grazing rotation.
  • Production has remained around 1.56kgMS/day this week, with 5 cows out of the vat with mastitis and 42 cows now on OAD milking.
  • Heat stress in the herd this past week was considerable, and on average impacted production by around 0.06kg (60gMS)/cow/day (22kgMS/day).
  • Feeding levels this past week have been as follows,
    • Calved cows 16kg grass offered + 3kg crop
  • Feeding levels for the coming week are planned as follows,
    • Calved cows 14kg grass offered + 5kg crop

 

Thursday, 3 January 2019


Week ending farm notes

  • Cover has lifted this week to 2461gDM/ha with growth of 75kgDM/ha/day occurring on the farm
  • Critical Pasture management decisions:
    • 4 paddocks (6.5ha) previously earmarked are now closed up to re-seed and be made into hay in late Jan/Feb. We are no longer recording cover on these, and they are not contributing to our average cover. To all intents and purposes they are removed from the farm as a crop.
    • 15 paddocks (28ha) are set aside to cut in early January as dry cow silage, along with a further cut form the run-off grass and sorghum.
    • Residuals with the cows are grazing between 1500 and 1575kgDM/ha with post-mowing used for weed management on 3 paddocks.
  • We have an effective farm area this year of 147ha, allocated as follows:
    • 10ha in summer brassica crop
    • 137ha in grass including the 6ha of hay crop
    • 131ha is available to graze between now and February after hay area removed
      • 28 ha cut into stack in approx. 3 weeks
      • 102ha effectively in our current grazing rotation
    • We have 402 cows on farm on a grazing area of 102ha = 3.94cows/ha.
    • Pasture offered now decreased on average to 16kgDM, with approximately 3kgDM of crop being fed to all cows. We will hold at 3kg/day for several more weeks to keep grazing pressure up.
      • Pasture demand is therefore currently 63kgDM/cha/day (Stocking rate x pasture offered = 3.94* 16)
      • Pasture demand remains below Pasture supply, and we expect growth to remain above demand but decreasing for several more weeks yet. Monitoring is vital.
    • The herds grazed 5.8ha/day equivalent to a 25 day round of the whole farm or 17 days of the 102ha in the grazing rotation.
    • We intend to keep cows in pasture under 2800kgDM/ha, to keep quality offerings at their best.  This week around 30% of paddocks were above this target and mowed ahead of cows. We have dropped another 4ha this week to get the long stuff out.
    • Production has wobbled around1.57kgMS/day this week, with 5 cows out of the vat with mastitis and 42 cws no on OAD milking. We are continuing with Magnesium in the dosatron as this rapidly grown pasture is still a risk.
    • Heat stress in the herd this past week was considerable, and on average impacted production by around 0.07 (70gMS)/cow/day.
    • Feeding levels this past week have been as follows,
      • Calved cows 16kg grass offered + 3kg crop
    • Feeding levels for the coming week are planned as follows,
      • Calved cows 16kg grass offered + 3kg crop

Monday, 24 December 2018


Week ending farm notes 24-12-18 

Cover has lifted this week to 2234kgDM/ha with growth of 68kgDM/ha/day occurring on the farm. This week’s growth suggests we overstate some covers last week, and therefore growth last week, (81kg/day vs 68kg/day. The average of the two at 75kg/day is still likely correct.)

  • Critical Pasture management decisions:
    • 4 paddocks (6.0ha) previously earmarked are now closed up to re-seed and be made into hay in late Jan/Feb. We are no longer recording cover on these, and they are not contributing to our average cover. To all intents and purposes they are removed from the farm as a crop.
    • 9 paddocks (19ha) are set aside to cut in early January as dry cow silage, along with a further cut form the run-off grass and sorghum. These are the furthest paddocks from shed up a big hill. We think the cows will appreciate our effort.
  • We have an effective farm area this year of 147ha not in crop, allocated as follows:
    • 10ha in summer brassica crop
    • 137ha in grass including the 6ha of hay crop
    • 131ha is available to graze between now and February after hay area removed
      • 19 ha cut into stack in approx. 3 weeks
      • 112ha effectively in our current grazing rotation
    • We have 403 cows on farm on a grazing area of 112ha = 3.6cows/ha.
    • Pasture offered now decreased on average to 16kgDM, with approximately 3kgDM of crop being fed to all cows. We will hold at 3kg/day for several more weeks to keep grazing pressure up.
      • Pasture demand is therefore currently 58kgDM/cha/day (Stocking rate x pasture offered = 3.6* 16)
      • Pasture demand remains far below Pasture supply, and we expect strong growth for several more weeks yet. Monitoring is vital.
    • The herds grazed 5.3ha/day equivalent to a 27 day round of the whole farm or 21 days of the 112ha in the grazing rotation.
    • We intend to keep cows in pasture under 2800kgDM/ha, to keep quality offerings at their best.  This week around 50% of paddocks were above this target and mowed ahead of cows. We have aggressively hit the feed wedge this week to get the long stuff out.
    • Production has wobbled around1.6kgMS/day this week, with two separate events menaing all or some cows in the herd had 24 and 36 hour milking intervals. We are continuing with Magnesium in the dosatron as this rapidly grown pasture is still a risk.
    • Heat stress in the herd this past week was considerable, and on average impacted production by around 0.07 (70gMS)/cow/day.
    • Feeding levels this past week have been as follows,
      • Calved cows 17kg grass offered + 2kg crop (First herd 3kg of crop all week and 2nd herd 1.5kg of crop for 5 days as they weaned on to Brassica)
    • Feeding levels for the coming week are planned as follows,
      • Calved cows 16kg grass offered + 3kg crop

 

Thursday, 20 December 2018


Week ending farm notes 17-12-18

 

  • Cover has come lifted this week to 2184kgDM/ha with growth of 81kgDM/ha/day occurring on the farm.
  • Critical Pasture management decisions:
    • 4 paddocks (6.0ha) previously earmarked are now closed up to re-seed and be made into hay in late Jan/Feb. We are no longer recording cover on these, and they are not contributing to our average cover. To all intents and purposes they are removed from the farm as a crop.
    • 4 small areas (4.7ha) are being cut today to be made into bales tomorrow.
    • 4 paddocks (8.9ha) are set aside to cut in early January as dry cow silage, along with a further cut form the run-off grass and sorghum. These are the furthest paddocks from shed up a big hill. We think the cows will appreciate our effort.
  • We have an effective farm area this year of 147ha not in crop, allocated as follows:
    • 10ha in summer brassica crop
    • 137ha in grass including the 6ha of hay crop
    • 131ha is available to graze between now and February after hay area removed
      • 9 ha cut into stack in approx. 3 weeks
      • 122ha effectively in our current grazing rotation
        • 117ha in grazing round for the week ahead,
        • 7ha will rebound into rotation immediately.
      • We have 403 cows on farm on a grazing area of 122ha = 3.3cows/ha.
      • Pasture offered now decreased (as we must start grazing fast-maturing crops) on average to 17.5kgDM, with approximately 1.5kgDM of crop being fed (3kg/cow to half the herd). This amount will increase as both herds transition fully into turnips to 5kg/cow/day for whole herd by New Year approximately – where pasture allocation will reduce to 14kgDM/day.
        • Pasture demand is therefore currently 58kgDM/cha/day (Stocking rate x pasture offered = 3.3* 17.5)
        • Pasture demand remains far below Pasture supply, and we expect strong growth for several more weeks yet.
        • We will almost definitely increase the amount of area currently out of rotation to join the summer stack in out then 6th on-platform silage cut this year.
        • This plan is reassessed twice a week, as removing too much grass could get us in more grass than too little if growth rates change rapidly. Monitoring is vital.
      • The herds grazed 6.63ha/day equivalent to a 22 day round of the whole farm or 18 days of the 122ha in the grazing rotation.
      • We intend to keep cows in pasture under 2800kgDM/ha, to keep quality offerings at their best.  This week around 70% of paddocks were below 2900 when grazed, however we are mowing ahead as 2900 is more than cows can eat (see video for results when we don’t mow and cover is this length).
      • Production has remained quite stable this week just above 1.6kgMS/day. We are continuing with Magnesium in the dosatron as this rapidly grown pasture is still a risk.
      • An old cow with chronic High SCC was culled following the herd test this week.
      • Feeding levels this past week have been as follows,
        • Calved cows 18.5kg grass offered + 0.5kg crop (First herd 1kg of crop for 3 days as they wean on to Brassica)
      • Feeding levels for the coming week are planned as follows,
        • Calved cows 17.5kg grass offered + 1.5kg crop (First herd 3 kg of Brassica)

 

Top of wedge and feedwedge pics below

 

 

Tuesday, 11 December 2018


Week ending farm notes 11-12-18

  • Cover has come down this week with 21ha of the farm being cut for silage to 2070kgDM/ha with growth of 77kgDM/ha/day occurring on the farm. A slight decrease from last week with some very hot days, but still well above demand.
  • Leaf Miner damage continued and spraying has now occurred. The crops will recover with new leaf coming through.  Despite this we have fast maturing crops ahead of us and we are bringing forward our grazing window.
  • We have decided to skip our December N application on the farm excluding paddocks that need vegetative encouragement. We may revert to using this as the growth begins to slow. 
  • Rain overnight on our cut silage was frustrating and an ongoing indication of this higher growth rate period, with a wet week forecast.
  • The herds grazed 6.34ha/day equivalent to a 23 day round of the whole farm or 18.5 days of the 117ha in grass and not shut out for silage. Strong growth and rising pre-graze covers slowed down the round as allocation area was reduced to maintain appropriate intakes.  
  • We intend to keep cows in pasture under 2800kgDM/ha, to keep quality offerings at their best.  Again this week, during the week around one third of the paddocks grazed were significantly higher than this. For the coming week we will endeavour to get cows back under this target.
  • Cows have now stabilised this week just above 1.6kgMS/day. Pasture samples show low dry matter an dlow magnesium levels in rapidly growing pasture so we have re-introduced Mag in the dosatron.
  • We are still grazing some paddocks ahead of cows. In most they can achieve a satisfactory residual (sub-1600) with grazing, but in others we are cleaning up the residual from the last grazing.
  • A first calver had a mis-adventure in the paddock and fractured her shoulder and was destroyed.
  • Feeding levels this past week have been as follows,
    • Calved cows 19kg grass offered

 

Wedge today below, then the forecast in 14 days time if growth is 70 kg/day 

Monday, 3 December 2018


Week ending farm notes 3-12-18

  • Cover has lifted further this week to 2328kgDM/ha with growth of 87kgDM/ha/day occurring on the farm. This is considerably more than last week and our demand of 58kg/day.
  • The herds grazed 6.68ha/day equivalent to a 21 day round of the whole farm or 17.5 days of the 115ha in grass and not shut out for silage.  
  • We intend to keep cows in pasture under 2800kgDM/ha, to keep quality offerings at their best.  During the week around half the paddocks grazed were just or significantly higher than this. For the coming week all paddocks will now be at or beneath this level.
  • With another 30-40m of rain recorded (and more falling right now) we now expect growth to maintain levels that are higher than demand for close to 3 more weeks at least.
  • In line with the rapid growth, hot humid weather and longer covers, cows have crashed this week, to 1.70kgMS average ranging between 1.82 and 1.60 today. 
    Continuing to offer 19.5kgs of feed has seen residuals climb, so we have now reduced allocation closer to 19kg to ensure a residual grazed beneath 1600kgDM/ha by the herd.
    It was our hottest average week so far this year and very humid. 
    We noticed heat stress behaviour in the cows frequently during the week, ceasing grazing and seeking shade. Including the images we posted last week showing the pasture damage due to the herd congregating under the trees.
    More pasture samples are going in this week as we expect our pasture will have had a similar heat-change occur in pasture quality.
  • 2 paddocks were mowed ahead of cows this week, and around 8 of the previous weekends high residuals were mowed in the week after the cows had been back through for a second crack and grazed to around 1650kgDM/ha. 
    Generally cows have been left to graze a paddock with little need for post-graze topping needed – primarily being used as a mechanism to remove remnant stem and woody weeds (dock, hedge mustard etc)
  • We have now allocated a total of 22ha at the top of the wedge to make into silage.  We will look to cut in around 7-10 days time with weather windows as they occur. 
    With the crop area out aswell we currently have 115ha of 147ha grazeable by the herd – or 22% of the farm removed from the grazing round.
  • Leaf Miner damage is becoming significant in the early sown Turnips and we are planning to spray ASAP.
  • We have paused our N application on the farm, and will likely leave our December application until later this month. 
    We have increased potash levels of fertiliser this year as soil K tests have been on lower end of scale.  This went on in November and whatever the cause there is a massive amount of clover on the farm this year in paddocks we didn’t normally see it in.
  • Unfortunately this week, one cow had a gut full of feed after herd test and lay badly on a slope becoming cast and then bloated and died.
  • Feeding levels this past week have been as follows,
    • Calved cows 19kg grass offered
  • Feeding levels for the coming week are planned as follows,
    • Calved cows 19kg grass offered.

 

Pre-grazing this week 

Tuesday, 27 November 2018


Week ending farm notes 26-11-18

  • Cover has lifted this week to 2194kgDM/ha despite 9ha of silage being cut and stacked in the week. Average growth settled at 80kgDM/ha/day and includes the impact of calves (“the nibblers”) eating feed out of the middle of the wedge.  This is considerably more than our demand of 58kg/day.
  • The herds grazed 6.63ha/day equivalent to a 22 day round of the whole farm or 18 days of the 125ha in grass and not made into silage. 
  • We intend to keep cows in pasture under 2800kgDM/ha, to keep quality offerings at their best. But the explosion of growth from the rain this past week (58mm) has flown the top of the wedge upwards at well over 100kgDM/ha/day and put some pre-grazings far higher than we anticipated, and residuals have increased.
    We expect growth to maintain current levels for 10 days at least and with more rain coming, possibly several more weeks so we will stay on the faster round and keep stacking the surplus.
  • Cows have averaged slightly more milk this week, at 1.82kgMS average ranging between 1.77 and 1.85.
  • 2 paddocks were mowed ahead of cows this week, and several of those grazed this week will either be topped post-grazing within 24 hours or mowed ahead next time for the increase in residual over the week.
  • We have allocated another 9ha at the top of the wedge out to make into silage, and this may yet be added to as the current week progresses. We will look to cut in around 10-14 days time with weather windows as they occur.
  • We have continued to follow the herd with the November N+K fert applications, and timing with rain has been useful to ensure we keep growing.
  • Feeding levels this past week have been as follows,
    • Calved cows 20kg grass offered (increase due to rapid increase in pre-graze)
  • Feeding levels for the coming week are planned as follows,
    • Calved cows 19.5kg grass offered.

Regrowth 4 days after silage cut 

 

Feedwedge 26-11-18








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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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