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Stackyard News Jul 08

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International Award for British Dairy Company

Leading dairy recording and data information company NMR has been awarded with an international quality award, making it the first British milk recording company to receive the new ICAR Certificate of Quality for production recording.

NMR group operations manager Tony Craven and NMR laboratory manager Bridget Rymer with the ICAR Certificate of Quality for production recording – a first for a British company

Tony Craven and Bridget Rymer

ICAR –the international body that promotes the development and improvement of performance recording for farm animals and their evaluation – has recently updated its quality awards. A new Certificate of Quality, that sets rigorous criteria and must be audited every three years, replaces a one-off quality stamp. Producers requiring authentic milk records for management and breeding purposes must use an ICAR- approved recording organisation.

“Being the first British company and one of only three worldwide out of recording organisations in 46 countries to receive this new award is a feather in NMR’s cap,” says NMR managing director Andy Warne. “It reflects the £2.3million investment we have made in new testing equipment and software systems during the past five years and our relentless pursuit of quality data throughout our systems and services.

“But most importantly,” adds Mr Warne, “is that NMR provides UK producers with a service that is world-leading in its systems and operation. ICAR has acknowledged this with the Certificate.

“Top quality data, and its processing, is the bedrock of successful dairy farming. Without accurate and reliable data presented in a timely fashion and useable format our dairy producers, their advisers and vets are working in the dark.”

NMR records production information from 60% of British dairy cows including a growing number of herds in Northern Ireland and Scoltand. Its dairy software system – that analyses data – is the leading software system used on farm and is also used by more than 70% of cattle vet practices.

Recognising the importance of top quality data is behind ICAR’s decision to update its quality recognition procedures. Its new Certificate of Quality is awarded only to those organisations that meet the criteria set out and scrutinised by independent auditors and approved by the ICAR board. The Award will be renewed every three years following an external audit to show standards are being maintained.

“In order to achieve the Certificate of Quality, NMR had to demonstrate its business procedures relating to testing and data quality controls,” says NMR’s group operations manager Tony Craven, who was presented with the award at ICAR’s meeting in Niagara, Canada, held in June.

“No stone was left unturned in this procedure,” adds Mr Craven. “Our systems and policing of testing and sampling equipment; staff training; animal identity procedures and checks; laboratory instrument investment and internal and external inter laboratory comparisons; and reporting methods to suit all customers, including paper reports, fax, mobile phone, disk and Internet, were just some of the areas that came under scrutiny.”

Attaining this quality seal is something that DairyCo’s Breeding+ director and ICAR board member Marco Winters would like to see all milk recording companies aim for. “The ICAR Certificate of Quality is up to date and it is an assurance that will help safe-guard data quality, which is used for national genetic evaluations. We need and, indeed, rely on this to provide accurate breeding data. It is great news that NMR is the first British company and one of the first worldwide to gain this award for milk recording.”

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