It’s been a long time between updates for us and lots has happened. At the being of 2020 we decided that we would put the farms on the market, so we moved back onto the farm in June 2020 (after having managers for 6 years) to run it ourselves again (with the help of our family) and tidy up things ready for sale. We have had a few interested parties, but nothing has come through as yet, so we are still undecided as to the plans from here.
During that time we have had children leave, and come back, and then leave again, and had others come to live with us for different lengths of time – never a dull moment. The most exciting thing during this last year is we also became grandparents – so special and such a blessing.
Our season review table (below) compares the key physical performance indicator results from this season with the previous three seasons.
|Pasture and crop eaten/ha||13.9||12.6||12.2||13.2|
|Feed conversion efficiency||11.9||11.6||11.6||11.3|
|6 week in-calf rate||67%||78%||73%||*|
* Unable to determine correctly as we are shifting to all autumn calving.
Pasture and crop DM/ha eaten showed a good lift and was the best result we have measured over the last 3 years. (The fact the pasture cover lifted through the season by 600 kg DM/ha actually means the pasture and crop ‘eaten’ was actually 13.8 t DM/ha).
On the Farm
There are 306 cows on farm grazing 1.5 ha/day = 50-day round.
- 260 milkers are grazing 1.5 ha (paddock/day), plus each cow is getting 6 – 7 kg meal, ½ litre molasses (mixed with water), and 5 – 6 kg DM maize silage.
- 7 sick/colostrum cows, 6 bulls, and 39 springers are also on farm.
Production to date is 13,950 kg MS (compared with 9,748 kg MS at the same time last year). Current production is 6.2 – 6.3 kg MS/ha/day and 1.7 – 1.8 kg MS/cow/day. The cow condition is 5.
Average pasture cover 2,544 kg DM/ha. The pasture cover targets for the next 6 – 8 weeks are 2,400 – 2,500 kg DM/ha in late July, and 2,000 – 2,100 kg DM/ha in late August.
General multi minerals are going through the water and triple mix is going on the maize silage for the milkers.
PhaSed N (150 kg/ha) started on 26th May.
From July onwards, when soil temperatures start to lift (as long as it isn’t very wet), SustaiN will be applied over the whole farm through that first full grazing round after spring calving has started at 80 – 90 kg/ha.
Cows – AI -13th June – 11th July (4 weeks) then the bulls are in with the herd for 6 weeks.
Heifers – A synchrony programme was done on the heifers and they were mated to sexed semen on 9th June. The bulls have been in with them since 3 – 4 days after that time.
Stock currently on the runoff: 60 dry cows, 1 beef cow, 4 beef autumn 2020 steers, 47 autumn 2020 heifers, 90 spring 2020 heifers, 3 bulls and 62 autumn 2021 calves are now on the runoff.
The SustaiN 25k was finished over the last 16 ha in mid-May.
PhaSed N started in late May and will be finished over the next 4 – 6 weeks.
Short Term Management
We are holding the round at 1.5 ha/day in the winter to ensure our pasture growth and cover going into late winter is maximised. We will hold this round until late August – early September when it will open up to 1½ paddocks/day.
Winter residuals are always the big challenging balancing act of cleaning up the paddocks well (to make sure pasture quality is taken into the spring), but minimising pasture damage in wet weather.
Ideally the milkers will continue to leave 1,300 – 1,500 kg DM/ha (or higher) residuals behind them with any dry stock (as they come home) being used to clean up paddocks to 1,200 – 1,300 kg DM/ha if required.
- P8 – a total 850 tonnes for the season, this works out to be 135 t DM.
- Molasses – 46 tonnes for the season = 35 t DM.
- Meal – total of 662 tonnes (595 t DM) for the season.
- The current mix is 80% PKE and 20% tapioca and will continue through winter.
- Feeding levels have been at 6 – 7 kg/cow/day – basically offering the cows as much as they want to eat. The plan is to stay at these maximum levels through the next six weeks at least.
- All grass silage made last season was used on the dairy farm.
- Maize silage – 150 t DM on hand (200 t DM was on hand on 1st June).
- On 1st June 2020 there was 120 t DM on hand and 500 t DM that was bought in from the run off. As 200 t DM was on hand this 1st June 420 t DM has been used.
- The maize silage is being used to top up the cows depending on feed and weather conditions. We would like to think this will be able to drop down over August and September.
Last year we were able to get the feedpad up and running and well utilised. This season so far we have been working on the races. They have all been cleaned off and resurfaced with rotten rock and lime rock in the high use areas – absolutely amazing!!