NMR has introduced a national disease testing service, Healthcheck,
for IBR, BVD and Leptospirosis using bulk milk samples. For many
producers the milk samples used for these tests, and for testing
for Johnes disease, can be drawn off those already collected
as part of the payment testing scheme run by NMR’s company
National Milk Laboratory (NML).
Milk samples arriving at the NML Laboratory, Wolverhampton
“NML collects samples every day from 65% of British dairy
herds,” says NML’s Ben Bartlett. “One sample
is used for payment testing at either the Wolverhampton or Paisley
laboratories, then five subsequent samples are held by the lab
for traceability purposes and to allow additional testing if required
by the milk buyer. These samples may also be used for disease testing
at the request of the producer.
“The great advantage here is that the samples are already
in store and this avoids any special sampling and transport arrangements – samples
must be held under 4ºC for the microbiology required for the
disease testing. This makes regular disease monitoring tests very
simple for the producer. The service is also available for those
sending in samples directly from the farm.”
The routine Healthcheck service for all three diseases – IBR,
BVD and Leptospirosis – costs £50 a year for quarterly
tests or £15 for a one-off test. Results are sent back to
producer with copies to their vet, or other third party, by email,
fax or post.
A number of vets are already taking advantage of NMR’s Healthcheck
service and, with permission from their dairy farmer clients, they
are contacting NML to request appropriate testing services whenever
the need arises.
“This innovation from NMR, using their NML collection, storage
and testing facilities is a huge bonus for us because it is as
near to hassle free as anything is likely to get,” comments
James Allcock from Cheshire-base vets Lambert, Leonard and May.
All three diseases currently covered in the Healthcheck service
are prevalent, at sub clinical levels, in many herds. IBR, which
can affect production and fertility, is found in around 40% of
UK cattle, but it is estimated that as few as 20% of herds
The BVD virus is estimated to be present in 95% of bulk milk tests,
but only 30% to 40% of herds vaccinate against it. Cattle infected
with BVD have increased susceptibility to other diseases and high
on-farm losses, through reduced fertility and loss of production,
are associated with BVD.
Leptospirosis is characterised by milk drop, infertility and abortion.
It is estimated that around 30% of herds are vaccinated for Leptospirosis.
Producers can request the Healthcheck service by contacting NMR
Customer Services on 0870 1622547.
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