DTT Stratford

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

The trial was to determine system performance, (cow, pasture, economic and environment) of extensive winter use of a covered wood-chip stand-off pad.

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

In June 2017, two randomised herds of 83 Jersey cows were assigned to two 25 ha farmlets (stocking rate 3.25 cow/ha). Feed inputs and management were the same for each farmlet except cows in the Winter Pad herd had access to the covered wood-chip stand-off pad when required.   Dry cows were fed grass silage and milking cows were fed PKE. Cows in the Winter Pad herd were stood off on the covered pad every evening during winter. Cows were on the pad for around 17 hours most days and up to 21 hours on very wet days. Cows continued using the pad during calving, and the herd were stood off in early spring and late autumn when soils were very wet. All supplements (grass silage for dry cows and PKE for milkers) were fed in the shed.

Cows in the control herd were wintered on pasture and dry cows received grass silage in the paddock. The Control herd were only stood off pasture on races/yards on very wet nights. PKE was fed to the control herd in troughs on the milking shed exit race.

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.

Trial Summary

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