New grass and silage stacks – Brian Frost

BF silage stack Mar18The summer rain has kept coming to grow the feed; however, with this has come the weeds, and the heat has certainly been making it difficult for the cows to reach the production levels we would have liked.

We have had major weed problems, especially in the new grass paddocks that have been flooded many times over the last year.

The maize silage has been harvested in the last two days and covered by the wonderful high school children who are raising funds for a missions trip to Thailand – they are becoming pros at throwing tyres.

On the farm

Currently we have 340 cows on farm – all grazing 1 ha/day (60 – 70 day round). 313 milkers are grazing 1 ha/day, plus 7 kg/cow/day of meal, 6 litres/cow/day of P8 and 6 kg DM/cow/day of maize silage. There are 18 sick/colostrum cows, 7 dry springers, 2 dry spring calvers and 13 new autumn calves. All the autumn calvers are now back on farm.

Production to date is 126,672 kg MS compared with 135,734 kg MS at the same time last year. Current production is 5.4 – 5.6 kg MS/ha/day and 1.3 – 1.35 kg MS/cow/day.

Cow condition is 4.5 – 4.6.

The cows are getting causmag, lime flour and salt on the maize, minerals in the meal and zinc is going through the water.

Feed

The average pasture cover is now over 2,575 kg DM/ha (on the winter plate meter equation). The pasture cover targets for the next 8 weeks are 2,100 – 2,200 kg DM/ha in late March and 2,100 – 2,200 kg DM/ha in late April. The cows went to a longer grazing round last week to try and eat out the summer grasses and weeds while also giving the new grasses more time to establish before grazing again. As the cows start to be dried off in late May/June, we plan to extend the round again for the winter.

Our battle has been the new grass paddocks. The chicory paddocks look great – but the Bealey is hard to find! Two of these will be undersown in Tama after this next grazing and two will be sown into Tabu+ to see how this goes. Hogan ryegrass has also been ordered to drill after the maize has been harvested.

Fertiliser

3.6 t of urea/SustaiN has been applied at 75 kg urea/ha (2.6 t in February and 1 t in March so far) we will keep following behind the cows now for the next two months at least.

Run off

126 R2 heifers (planning to sell 60 surplus) and 133 calves are at the run off. Two of the chicory paddocks will be sown into Tama and two into Tabu+. A full round of nitrogen has also been applied to all of the run off paddocks. The 17 ha of maize came off yesterday. Unfortunately there is no spot market for it so it has been stacked on the dairy farm, with about 150 t DM at the runoff.

BF silage stack combined Mar18

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