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The Field family, Montagu

The DairyTas Focus Farm for 2017-2019 is run by Dave and Jane Field, based in Circular Head, North West Tas. Learn more about their Focus Farm story below.

Field Family

The Field farm in Montagu is the DairyTas Focus Farm for 2017/19.

Farm background

Dave and Jane have been farming in Tasmania for two years, and progressed through the Dairy industry in New Zealand before coming to Tasmania. The Field's wanted to join the program for the opportunity it offered:

“We were new to Tasmania and knew that it would be really different to farming in New Zealand, we thought it was a fantastic opportunity to help us through the transition period and to give something back to industry” - Jane Field

They're both graduates of Lincoln University, moving up through the dairy industry by managing farms, 50/50 share-milking and then into farm ownership in 2006. They purchased a dairy farm to develop and subsequently two grazing blocks located at Murchison near the top of the South Island, NZ. Their dairy farm in NZ is currently managed by a share-farmer.

Farm challenges and goals

Specific challenges and goals for the Field Family include:

  • To operate a simple pasture-based system
  • Focus on growing and harvesting more pasture by:
    • increasing soil fertility
    • irrigation
    • pasture species, and
    • cow genetics and management.

Farm facts and figures

At the start of the project, the Field's herd was made up of Holstein and cross bred cows. The emphasis now is on gaining genetic merit and increasing the proportion of cross bred cows in the herd. Then, focusing on increasing pasture utilisation and adapting to the Once-A-Day milking system, which has been in operation on-farm since May 2017.

An overview of the farm's productivity at the beginning of the project:

Total area  800ha 
Dairy platform

Dairy Platform = 450 effective hectares +

Grazing/support block = 300 effective hectares

250 ha under irrigation

Herd numbers

Split calving system.

Autumn calving: 500 cows

Spring calving: 900 cows

Milking numbers
Peak milk 1400 cows this year.
Milk production
(Kg milk solids) 
Aiming for 525,000 kg milk solids in 2017/18
milking on a Once a Day milking system. 
Herd - breed/size
The herd is made up of Holstein and cross bred cows.

Key Performance Indicator (KPI) reporting

Every two weeks, the Field family and their project consultant, Basil Doonan report on how the farm is tracking against the Field's the KPIs. KPI data includes:

  • pasture
  • animals
  • environment
  • people and
  • production.

The latest KPI data is listed below, with the complete fortnightly reports available as downloads.

Final report - "And that's a wrap"

The 2017 - 2019 Tasmanian Dairy Focus Farm project has concluded after 24 months. Read the Field family Focus Farm final report.

End of 2017/18 review and wrap up

The 2017 - 18 DairyTas Field family Focus Farm has now wrapped up. Check out our review of the season here!

KPI Tracking data for 16th September 2019

 
Key Performance Indicators (from graph) Target Actual
Production/cow (Kg MS/cow) 1.16 1.4
Production/ha (Kg MS)   2.19 3.1
Average pasture cover APC (Kg DM/ha) 2,138 2,205
Condition score (1-5) 4.5 4.7
Bulk milk cell count BMCC (cells/ml) <250,000 240,000
Secondary Indicators (from report)
Animal

Pasture/cow (Kg DM/day) 10
Grain/cow (Kg DM/cow) 5
Silage offered/cow (Kg DM/cow) 5
Heifer weight (Kg) N/A
Calf weight (Kg) N/A
Production

Kg MS/cow/day 1.4
Litres/cow/day 16
Kg MS/day 1399
Kg MS/ha 3.1
Pasture

Growth rate (Kg DM/ha) 47
Leaf emergence rate (days) 15
Grazing Area (Ha)

Milking Platform 450
Grazing Block 325
Milk Production

Litres/cow/day 16
Kg Milk Solids/ha 1.4
Calf Milk No milk taken from milking herd
Bulk Cell Count 240,000 (cells/ml)
APC 2,205 Kg DM/ha
Growth rate 47 kg DM/ha
Leaf Emergence Rate 15 days on a 30 day rotation
Milker’s Rotation

Pre-grazing cover 2,900 Kg DM/ha
Post-grazing cover 1,500 Kg DM/ha
Cow Diet Offering 10 Kg pasture, 5 Kg silage and 5 Kg pellets
Rainfall 98 mm
Irrigation 0
Fertiliser application

N:P:K:S (Kg/ha) 35:2:7:8 on 50% of the milking platform and 10% of the grazing block
Other information

Comments N/A
Pasture Growth rate has increased from 30kg DM/ha to 47kg DM/ha.
Rotation length is 30 days on the milking platform.
Pasture cover has increased from 2050kg DM/ha to 2205Kg DM/ha
Silage was fed at 5Kg DM/cow/day over the last fortnight.

Animal

Somatic cell count is up at 240,000 cells/ml average over the past fortnight.
Cow condition score is steady at 4.7.
452 heifers and wagyu calves reared to date.


Production Production per cow has increased to 1.4kg MS/cow/day.
People

Environment/Other  We have had 98mm of rain over the past fortnight.
The paddocks are less waterlogged now with temperature and pasture growth increasing.

Complete fortnightly reporting

Complete fortnightly reporting

Financial year 2018/19

 16 September 2019    
2 September 2019   19 August 2019  
 5 August 2019  22 July 2019  8 July 2019
 26 June 2019  13 June 2019  27 May 2019
 15 May 2019  10 April 2019  1 April 2019
 18 March 2019  4 March 2019  18 February 2019
 3 February 2019  21 January 2019  7 January 2019
 9 December 2018  27 November 2018  11 November 2018
31 October 2018 15 October 2018 1 October 2018
17 September 2018 3 September 2018 23 July 2018
9 July 2018




Financial year 2017/18

26 June 2018 11 June 2018 28 May 2018
17 May 2018 30 April 2018 16 April 2018
2 April 2018 19 March 2018 2 March 2018
19 February 2018 5 February 2018 22 January 2018
8 January 2018 11 December 2017 27 November 2017
13 November 2017 30 October 2017

 

 

Related info:
Attend a Focus Farm open day in your state
Other Focus farm in this region

Focus Farms around Australia
Other DA Farm Business management programs