Livestock 2015: Dairy app offers instant somatic cell counts on farm

Testing milk somatic cell counts (SCC) is routine for dairy farmers, but most samples are sent away for analysis and results take time.

Now the attachment of a mobile microscope and laser to an iPhone is set to transform the process for instant “cowside” results.

The Dairy Quality RT10 Platinum is an app that uses an iPhone or an iPod to give an accurate on farm SCC assessment and an indication of the main bacteria causing raised levels.

See also: Milk quality improves in UK herds

dairy app for mobileChris Gans, director of sales and marketing for Dairy Quality, said while it won’t replace lab testing, the device has a place on dairy farms milking 100-1,000 cows as it helps farmers to decide quickly whether to treat the cow or let her deal with the infection.

“It works out at roughly £2 a test, so is affordable,” he said speaking at this year’s Livestock Event at Birmingham NEC.

The RT10 and 72 slides costs about £1,400.

How it works

  1. Using the slide take a small sample of milk by firing the piston to activate a vacuum. Once inside the slide, chemicals break down the milk and stain the somatic cells
  2. Insert slide into RT10 cradle which contains a microscope and back light laser
  3. Select which test you’d like performed from composite bulk, individual cow or individual quarter
  4. Wait 40 seconds for the sample to be analysed. The cradle lines up the microscope with the device camera and the laser energises the somatic cells before taking a picture
  5. The number of SCC in the sample. If the sample has over 300,000 cells/ml an indication of the main bacteria causing mastitis is also given.

Benefits of using the Dairy Quality RT10

  • Instant results of bulk milk, individual cows or individual quarters in the parlour
  • Improve herd health management with instant, accurate testing
  • Speed cow recovery with earlier treatment
  • Store data and images of tested samples via the app for individual cows
  • Share data with standard herd management software or by email

Read more news from the Livestock Event 2015