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Waibury Dec 2017 Dairy Farming Update NZ

Friday, 22 December 2017 at 10:18am



November and the beginning of December were particular dry across the country, but the weather has fluctuated at the end of the month with some very heavy falls across parts of New Zealand.  Farm managers are now carefully planning how they will manage feed supplies for the rest of summer.


The fine weather did allow the more mature saved pasture to be made into hay, a month earlier than normal, but most regions are reporting their silage stocks are behind last year.


Global Dairy Trade Auction


After four consecutive falls the global auction lifted slightly at the beginning of December - possibly due to lowering volumes and dry predictions affecting supply forecasts.  However in the final event before Christmas the auction fell again. The market seems to be at a crossroads, with buyers having to decide how much the dry conditions will affect NZ’s supply and will increasing global production allow prices to ease further?




Fonterra announced it’s pre Christmas update on the 2017/18 milk price forecast to $6.40/kg/ms.  




The Kale versus Fodder Beet trials under way at the Southern Dairy Hub revealed some interesting results.  According to a presentation given by DairyNZ senior scientist Dawn Dalley, preliminary results of the trial discovered the blood phosphorus levels had halved in the cows on beet in the first six weeks on the crop. "But on the kale cows we didn’t see the same. It shows the importance of phosphorus supplement on beet," Dr Dalley said.


There was no major difference in calcium levels through the winter period while blood magnesium was slightly higher in the beet than in the kale, she said.


The cows’ colostrum was also tested for quality with a brix test, which determined whether or not the colostrum was of good quality or not.  Anything rated 22 or above was good quality colostrum. What was interesting for the research team was the higher proportion of cows below 22 on the kale compared to the beet.  About 15% were lower than 16, Dr Dalley said.


The kale cows had higher body condition scores at the end of winter, while the somatic cell count was 100,000 higher on the beet than the kale.  "There was also a higher incidence of mastitis in the beet than the kale cows," Dr Dalley said.


More cows calved on the kale than the fodder beet which was interesting for the research team as it  had been getting reports of cows not bagging up on beet the same, but the hub had found the opposite.


Read more findings from the study here http://www.southerndairyhub.co.nz/research/winter-crop-feed-study/