Future Farm Systems Update 18th May 2023
This project compares the productivity, profitability and impact on people and the environment on three farms, being:
- Current Farm – Kikuyu & ryegrass based pastures with up to 190 kg N/ha/annum, 3.1 cows/ha
- Alternative Pastures Farm – Fescue & cocksfoot based pastures, up to 190 kg N/ha, 3.1 cows/ha
- Low Emissions Farm – Kikuyu & ryegrass based pastures, designed to reduce methane emissions by 25% and nitrous oxide by 50%, no nitrogen applied, 2.3 cows/ha
This project is funded by DairyNZ, MPI (Sustainable Food & Fibre Futures) and Hine Rangi Trust.
|Update – 18th May 2023||Current Farm||Alternative Pastures Farm||Low Emissions Farm|
|Avg Pasture Cover (kg DM/ha, excl silage pad)||2011||2130||2007|
|Pasture Growth (kg DM/ha/d, last 2 weeks)||56||59||57|
|Rotation Length (days)||39||34||44|
|Cows in Milk/Peak Cows||44/66||31/67||32/50|
|Production/cow/day (kg MS)||0.85|
|Production/ha/day (kg MS)||1.18|
|Estimated Production/cow – 2022/23 (kg MS)||393||411||396|
|Estimated Production/ha – 2022/23 (kg MS)||1204||1269||908|
|6 week in-calf rate||81%||82%||82%|
|Supplement Fed (kg DM/cow/day)||0||0||0|
|Purchased Supplement Fed
(kg DM/cow 2022/23 season)
Pur Silage 212
Pur Silage 213
|Homegrown Silage Fed (kg DM/cow)||274||310||293|
|Homegrown Silage on hand (kg DM/cow)||79||157||646|
|Average Body Condition Score (Milkers)||4.3||4.4||4.3|
|Worry Score (1 = Low, 10 = High)||4||2||3|
|Nitrogen – Season to Date (kg N/ha)||156||167||0|
|Rainfall (mm last 2 weeks)||153 mm|
- Pasture growth rates have been good, however pasture covers have dropped on the Current and Low Emissions Farms due to mulching of the kikuyu paddocks.
- The last of the cows were dried off today. Cows and pasture covers are in a better condition than this time 12 months ago. Once-a-day milking since February has helped.
- Once cows are dried off, we will aim to feed cows 14 kg DM/cow/day to get cow condition up to 5+ before calving. The Current Farm will receive some baleage, while higher pasture covers on the Alternative Pastures Farm and lower stocking rates on the Low Emissions Farm mean they should not need supplement.
- Replacement heifers will join their respective farmlets on 1 June.
- All farms will move to a 60 day rotation to help lift pasture covers.
- We will hold off spreading nitrogen at the moment. With more warm weather predicted we don’t want to stimulate the kikuyu and risk shading out the emerging ryegrass.