Te Puke

System Type: 3
Bay of Plenty
Last Update:
20 March 2019

DairyNZ Comment:

20 Mar 2019
  • It may seem way too early to be banging on about calving, but we’re at that stage of the season where decisions made no (or not made!) will have a significant impact on just how things kick off at calving.  Consequently, the planning for calving begins now!

    From March, most cows are 120 to 150 days away from their planned calving date.  Cows will usually lose a little BCS during the two weeks following dry-off and won’t gain BCS in the month before calving.  Therefore, early-calving cows only have 75 to 100 days during which they can gain BCS.  These are the cows that need immediate focus. 

    Cows milked OAD in late lactation are likely to gain about 0.25 BCS units more in three months than cows milked twice a day over the same period.  However, cows must be offered the same amount of feed as if milked twice a day.  Now we are well into March, moving to OAD milking will only be an option for cows that are BCS 4 or greater, as the amount of BCS that will be gained before dry-off is very small.

    When fed supplements and presuming pasture is not wasted, cows will partition the extra energy into producing more milk.  This means that providing supplements to milking cows is not a very effective strategy for gaining BCS, although it will prevent BCS loss when grazing residuals are less than targeted.  Offering supplements to dry cows will increase BCS, but different feed types will have different effects on the amount of BCS cows gain.

    Cows also need time to gain the required BCS.  Gaining a maximum of 0.5 BCS units/month is a good rule of thumb, taking account there will be no BCS gain in the final month of pregnancy.

    By themselves, OAD milking and feeding milkers supplements are not effective ways to gain the required BCS in early calving cows.  Of particular importance are the first calving heifers (R 2 years) the heifers finishing their first lactation, as these are the cows with the greater BCS requirement at calving.  For those cows calving later, OAD milking and supplementary feeds can form a part of the strategy to achieve target BCS at calving.

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  • Date Collected

    20 Mar 2019

  • Soil temp


  • Growth

    28 kgs DM/day

  • APC

    1859 kgs DM/ha

  • Rainfall

    5 mm

  • BCS


  • % in milk

    77 %

  • MS/cow

    1.06 kgs

  • MS/ha

    2.40 kgs

  • MS/ha YTD

    1048 kgs

  • Rotation

    42 days

  • MS/cow YTD

    - kgs

  • Nitrogen YTD

    159 kgs/ha

  • Supplements

    18 kgs/cow/day

  • Supplements YTD

    1296 kgs/cow/day

  • Weight Gain

    - kgs/day

  • Stocking Rate

    2.3 su/ha

  • Crude Protein Level


  • MJME