UK research and development partners have collaborated to create a proactive, on-farm mastitis detection tool that could be a game changer for the dairy industry.
At a time when antimicrobial resistance (AMR), sustainable production and animal health are big focal points for UK agriculture, this technology represents real progress in how this costly disease is managed and treated.
“Mastitis is economically the most significant disease affecting the dairy industry, with lactation yield losses from severe cases reported to be as high as 15% per cow,” says Jonathan Statham, chief executive of livestock health and welfare specialists, RAFT Solutions, who are leading this project.
“Conventional mastitis diagnostics typically take around two days for the results to be processed. This time lag means farmers generally treat sick cows with broad-spectrum antimicrobials. However, this isn’t always the most effective use of antimicrobials and evidence-based diagnostics offers a great opportunity to help manage AMR,” Professor Statham adds.
With available funding through Innovate UK, RAFT Solutions has been working with industry partners CIEL, QMMS (Quality Milk Management Services), Fera Science and OptiSense, for the last two years to create a mastitis detection tool that intends to help address this industry-wide challenge.
“The three-year technology development project is set to come to an end next summer. Our intention is for this to be supported by vet practices allowing prompt decision making on-farm where vets and farmers can continue to work together effectively,” explains Professor Statham.
“The benefits this technology will have on sustainable food production can’t be underestimated. “Our industry is being scrutinised for the potential impact it’s having on climate change. But this technology has the potential to reduce waste, through the reduction in the loss of milk and effectively help maintain animal health and welfare.”Prof Jonathan Statham, Chief Executive, RAFT Solutions Ltd