System Type: 3
Bay of Plenty
Last Update:
12 December 2018

DairyNZ Comment:

12 Dec 2018
  • Pasture growth rates have consistently been at levels where, unless stocking rates are atypically high, surplus feed should be available on an all pasture feeding regime. If target residuals are being maintained, the feed surplus should have made itself obvious. Surplus management is all about anticipation. To get surplus management right requires regular pasture assessment to predict feed surpluses before they happen. It’s a matter of monitoring the feed situation more often, not less.

    One of the first challenges is to determine what the appropriate area to shut up might be. The area required to feed the cows = (target feed demand/ha x platform area)/pasture growth rate (kgDM/ha/day). The difference between this area and the total platform area will be the area deemed to be surplus to current requirements. The risk of shutting too much and restricting milk production can be minimised by taking out small amounts for a short time and/or keeping the same grazing interval and using some of the surplus feed to extend the rotation.

    The longer the paddock is closed for silage, the higher the risk of pasture growth rates on the remainder of the farm slowing and creating a feed deficit. As a silage crop matures, quantity will increase but the quality (energy content) decreases. The date that a paddock is dropped out of the grazing round will also affect the quality of the silage with crop quality into December. As a general rule, to optimise crop quantity and quality, the recommendation would be to shut paddocks that had a post-grazing residual of 1500 kg DM/ha.

    This is the stage of the season where a decline in pasture quality on farms is quite common, leading to a corresponding drop in milk production. Getting some clarity around the decisions that are needed will help in minimising that drop in feed quality.


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  • Date Collected

    12 Dec 2018

  • Soil temp


  • Growth

    73 kgs DM/day

  • APC

    2227 kgs DM/ha

  • Rainfall

    6 mm

  • BCS


  • % in milk

    96 %

  • MS/cow

    1.56 kgs

  • MS/ha

    5.70 kgs

  • MS/ha YTD

    752 kgs

  • Rotation

    17 days

  • MS/cow YTD

    - kgs

  • Nitrogen YTD

    148 kgs/ha

  • Supplements

    0 kgs/cow/day

  • Supplements YTD

    653 kgs/cow/day

  • Weight Gain

    - kgs/day

  • Stocking Rate

    3.5 su/ha

  • Crude Protein Level


  • MJME


Farm walk notes:

*Scored 21/6/18 at 4.8. *feels they may have dropped 0.5 CS but yet to formally assess.