DTT Stratford

Stratford Demonstration erected a covered shelter / feed pad 5 years ago capable of holding 160 Jersey cows.

Farm Data

  • 51 effective ha.
  • East of Stratford
  • 2000 mm rainfall
  • 300 meters above sea level

Background

High winter / early spring rainfall (200 mms + per month) on high altitude farms in Taranaki is the major climatic / environmental challenge. Soils are commonly at field capacity resulting in poor utilisation of pasture and supplements. Covered wintering pads / feed pad are becoming popular in these environments in Taranaki with the aim of reducing pasture pugging and increased utilisation of supplements.

Trial Design

2 split herds of 83 Jersey cows with 25 ha/farmlet stocked at 3.3 cows/ha. All cows spring calving with calving date 1 August. Herd 1 to use covered wintering pad in winter / early spring when soils at field capacity for standing off and feeding of supplements. Herd 2 to be grazed on pasture 100% with all supplements fed on pasture.

Measurements

  • Milk production from 4 weekly herd tests + vat measurements. Milk can be stored and collected from 2 separate vats & 2 supply numbers via Fonterra.
  • Pasture growth from calibrated weekly visual estimation of all paddocks (2 weekly in winter)
  • Pre and post herbage mass measurements and estimated cow intakes
  • Supplements harvested and fed, supplements purchased (amount and cost)
  • Crop yields and cost
  • Pasture pugging measurements (soil compaction + point analysis)
  • Nitrogen leaching measurements (+ associated soil & nitrogen measurements appropriate to the study)
  • Measurement of value of shed cleanings applied to pasture annually
  • 4 weekly cow Liveweight and condition score
  • All animal health and cow fertility events

Companion Farms

Proposal is to have 2-3 companion farms running similar systems with DairyBase analysis.

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