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Stackyard News Oct 07

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NML Opens New Scottish Milk Testing Lab

National Milk Laboratories (NML), part of the NMR group, has officially opened its new site at Hillington near Glasgow in Scotland. This new laboratory facility is equipped with the latest milk testing equipment and replaces the old site at Paisley.

NML director Ben Bartlett
NML director Ben Bartlett

It is responsible for bulk milk payment testing on behalf of milk buyers. Together with its laboratory at Wolverhampton, NML is responsible for 99% of milk payment testing in the UK. Milk samples from buyers including Claymore, Dairy Crest, Dairy Farmers of Britain, First Milk, Grahams, Milk Link, Orkney, Quothquan, Sorn, Westlake Dairy Park and Wisemans will be tested at Hillington.

“As well as milk quality testing for payment purposes, the new facility also offers disease and microbiology testing services,” says NML director Ben Bartlett. “It is a unique testing site in Scotland with two additional laboratories for further tests on milk samples under the one roof. One of these laboratories has the latest high-tech resources for disease testing including Leptospirosis, BVD, IBR and Johne’s Disease.

“A microbiology testing lab also operates within the Hillington site and this is used particularly on high cell count milk to identify the pathogens causing infection.”

The NML facility at Hillington is already being used by producers and vets across Scotland and in the north of England. Tests can be carried out on bulk milk samples collected and held in store through the milk buyer route or on individual cow samples sent directly to the lab through one of NML’s services.

Bulk milk samples are collected off farm by the tanker drivers and delivered to the depot where the NMR transport network of refrigerated vans will collect them on a weekly or daily basis. As part of the service, many milk buyers are opting to collect bulk milk samples at every milk collection. While one a week is used for testing, NML will hold the remaining fresh samples in its fridges should any subsequent testing be required by the milk buyer, the producer or the vet. A sophisticated bar code system ensures full traceability of samples through the laboratory.

The NMR group has invested £275k in the new site at Hillington along with a £200k in new lab kit. The lab employs 14 staff and operates for 19 hours a day, seven days a week and 365 days a year with a day and night shift.

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National Milk Laboratories