Participants will be capable of assisting dairy farmers to adopt production system and grazing management practices which achieve profitable and sustainable outcomes.
The course is delivered over two separate workshops:
- Autumn (delivered in March): Production Systems and Autumn Management
- Spring (delivered in July): Application of Grazing Principles and Spring Management
For each course there are pre and post course activities for completion.
Course facilitators and deliverers
The course will be facilitated by Chris Glassey (DairyNZ), Kate Sargeant (DairyNZ) and Chris Lewis (Baker and Associates) with additional presentations given by Jane Kay (DairyNZ).
Pre and post course homework tasks are given for both courses. The pre-course homework needs to be completed prior to the course start date. The post-course homework should be completed within six weeks of completing the course.
Some of the homework requires logging into an online platform. You will be given a username and password to access this site.
The learning outcomes for this course are based on Section 3 of the Dairy Farm Systems Consultant Assessment Criteria. Note, the courses currently don’t cover Assessment Criteria 3.4 (Pasture Renewal) and we are looking at ways of covering this topic in future courses.
Production systems (Course 1)
- Strategic management: For a given scenario, can account for a dairy farmer’s goals, values, cash flow, risk profile, lifestyle, skill set and management preferences to determine the feasibility of change options
- Decision types: Can accurately identify differences between strategic, tactical and operational practices, decisions and planning in the context of dairy production systems
- Production systems: Can correctly identify the characteristics of production systems 1-5 (proportion of brought in feed, relative production and profitability KPIs) and how these influence the context of strategic (system choice, risk management) and tactical (e.g. pasture management) decision-making
- Pasture eaten: Can correctly calculate a pasture eaten estimate (Pasture Eaten Ready Reckoner provided)
- Stocking rate: Can identify the benefits and disadvantages of different ways to calculate stocking rate; and can accurately calculate stocking rate using the different methods (cows/ha, kg lwt/ha, comparative stocking rate)
- Strategies for managing annual feed supply/demand: For a given annual feed supply/demand profile, can determine strategic management options (e.g. stocking rate, calving date, wintering, feed input levels, surplus feed conservation) to maximise feed conversion efficiency and meet production targets
- Autumn tactical management: For a given scenario, can develop an autumn management plan to meet average pasture cover and cow condition targets (DairyNZ Simple Feed Budget with Cow Condition provided)
Grazing management (Course 2)
- Understanding grazing principles: Can identify the key principles of grazing management in New Zealand dairy pastures (leaf stage, the ideal grazing window for achieving maximum production and yields); the science-based evidence behind the principles; and how the principles can be applied to developing management policies throughout the year.
- Application of grazing principles: For a given scenario, can develop a spring management plan including: target average pasture covers at drying off, calving and balance date; rotation length; weekly target average pasture covers; and area grazed per day for each mob on the farm.
- Feed wedges: Can use feed wedges to make feed management decisions; and can derive the target line for a feed wedge.
- Tactical management: Can identify management tactics for feed surpluses and in the context of the spring management plan for a given scenario
Feeding (Delivered over Courses 1 and 2)
- Feeding principles (C1): Can determine which components (ME, protein, fibre, dry matter) are most important in meeting nutritional requirements of cows and young stock through pasture and supplements
- Feed allocation (C1 & 2): Can calculate required feed allocations (pasture and supplement) based on feed value and energy requirements for maintenance and condition gain, including accounting for wastage, utilisation and substitution
- Cow condition strategies (C1): Can calculate feeding requirements for BCS gain, and determine the pros and cons of strategies such as milking once-a-day in terms of cow condition, feed requirements and productivity
- Winter crops (C1): Can estimate the yield of a forage crop, the number of days the crop will last for a given number of cows, and the area/day required for break feeding.
- Least cost rations (C2): Can compare the value of different feed sources in relation to their cost by correctly calculating c/MJME and c/kg DM, including accounting for utilisation
- Feed allocation (C2): Can identify key differences between pasture and total mixed ration diets in terms of rumen function and milk production capability.
- Silage stacks (C2): Can correctly estimate the volume (kg DM) of a silage stack and bunker
Course 1 covers the key principles and policies for the production system and development of an autumn management plan. The key output is an Autumn management plan for a case study farm.
- Activity 1: Understanding Profitable Production Systems
- Activity 2: Stocking Rates and Pasture Eaten
- Activity 3: FeedRight, Facts and Figures and Body Condition Score
- Activity 4: Wintering
Day 1 (11am – 5pm)
- The big picture – profit objectives of the Dairy Industry
- Decision types
- What are the key policies that make up the production system and how are they derived?
- Production systems 1-5 and differences between them
- Calculating Comparative Stocking Rate, Pasture Eaten and % Feed Brought In
- Introducing the annual feed budget tool as a means of quickly assessing farm policies
- Using FeedPlan Pro to develop a seasonal feed supply and demand profile for the case study farm
- Managing BCS and feeding for BCS gain in Autumn/Winter
Day 2 (8:30am – 5pm)
- Activity – Who’s who in Production Systems and Feeding Management?
- Seasonal management tactics and priorities and which tools are used for what
- Introducing the Autumn Feed Budget
- On-farm case study activity – developing an autumn management plan
- Group work to develop a presentation for the farmer to be delivered the following day
Day 3 (8:30am – 3:30pm)
- Groups work on their presentations
- Group presentations to the case study farmer
- What-if scenarios for autumn management
There are two activities to complete for your post course homework - a quiz and an assignment. These are described below. Please complete both activities within six weeks of completing the course (an exact due date will be provided at the contact course).
The assignment is worth 50% of your course mark and will be marked by a consultant or DairyNZ facilitator.
The quiz is worth 45% of your mark in Course 1. The quiz is timed (you have 70 minutes to complete the quiz). You will be provided with feedback from your facilitators where gaps are identified.
Note that a pass mark of >66% in this quiz can be credited towards NZIPIM Farm Systems Certification Section 3.3 – Production Systems. Quizzes for Modules 3.1 (Grazing Management) and 3.2 (Feeding) can be completed as part of Course 2.
- Grazing Principles Group Exercise 1
- Pastures Group Exercise 2
- Principles of Grazing Management in Perennial Ryegrass/Clover Systems – Group presentations and Q&A session with experts in the room
- Applying the grazing management principles on farm
- Group pasture species presentations
- Reminder of feed supply and demand principles
- Balance date and calculating pasture required at balance date
- Principles behind the Spring Rotation Planner
- Case study activity – developing a SRP
- Case study farm activity – developing a Spring Management Plan for the farm
- Group presentations to the case study farmer
- Feed wedges – pre and post cover
- The Transition Cow
- Feeding in spring/summer
- Tactical use of nitrogen and ProGibb
- Cheapest feed calculations
- Measuring silage stacks
- Feeding heifers
Post session homework
- Activity 1: Complete the online quizzes provided covering Grazing Management and Feeding
- Activity 2: For a farm in your region, use the Spring Rotation Planner to develop a spring management plan.