Archive: Dairy lab testing positive for farmers and industry

Published 14 January 13

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Dairy lab testing positive for farmers and industry

Laboratories receiving DairyCo funding to participate in international ring trials of somatic cell counts, butterfat, protein and lactose have all had excellent results in the latest rounds of testing.

This means British dairy farmers can have continued confidence in their milk test results. In addition, it gives reassurance that individual cow tests, which feed into the genetic bull proofs produced by DairyCo and are part of the PLI (Profitable Lifetime Index), are of the highest standard.

A ring trial involves sending out a portion of the same sample for a series of samples, to participating laboratories, who send their results back.  These are then analysed and all laboratories are compared.

DairyCo's Dr Elizabeth Berry, explains: "With milk price set according to its constituents and quality it is vitally important that the tests are as accurate as possible. Once again, the results of recent trials from British laboratories have been very good on reproducibility (comparing the results with other labs) and repeatability (testing the same sample repeatedly), which means farmers can be reassured that their milk is being tested to international standards and can have confidence in the results produced." 

DairyCo is funding the participation of two NML/NMR (National Milk Laboratories) laboratories and the CIS (Cattle Information Services) laboratory in the ring trials.

Dena Snidall, CIS Quality Manager says: "Quality control measures are in place to monitor the reliability of test measurements. Proficiency testing schemes play a highly valuable role as they provide objective evidence of the laboratories ability to perform a specific measurement. Towards the end of 2011 a project was undertaken as part of our continuous improvement policy. This project was highly successful which is reflected in PT performance. The measures put in place have seen a continued improvement since the transfer to the CIS fully automated laboratory."

Paul O'Brien Group Quality Manager for NML says: "We regard our participation in international ring trials as an essential component of our UKAS accredited testing operations. The ring trials give us a clear indication of our performance compared to other European testing laboratories and ensure that we continue to operate to a satisfactory standard.

"We are pleased to be able to collaborate with DairyCo and share information with them so that British farmers can have confidence in the quality of their test results."