The Cattle Information Service (CIS) deals with over four and a half million samples a year from all over the UK. The daily testing levels vary from as low as 6,000 to up to 30,000, all handled by nine technicians using routine analysis equipment to test the milk samples for a range of tests such as protein, lactose and somatic cell count in less than 12 hours. “We have to make sure that we have the right equipment available to meet those volumes on peak days, says Managing Director, Sue Cope.
Speed is not the only aspect of the CIS approach to milk testing.
After a sample has flowed through the routine milk system it is moved into the microbiology lab for disease screening, for instance for Johnes disease and BVD. The test results are delivered using web-based systems to help farmers and advisors to make timely management decisions. “The farmer is getting a clear and complete picture of how his animal is performing and the health of that animal,” says Cope.
Yet more valuable information is in the pipeline, subject to an investigation by CIS of new testing opportunities for Ketosis and fatty acid profiling as part of the routine milk tests with the FOSS MilkoScan™ analyser. The MilkoScan is part of the FOSS CombiFoss™ which also includes the Fossomatic™ somatic cell counter.
The tests do not involve any additional time or process in handling the milk samples, as head of laboratory operations, Dena Snidall, explains: “It is all hidden in there somewhere, it is just a case of taking it out,” she says.