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Milk test gives early warning of ketosis in dairy herds

A new milk screening system can help milk testing centres to give dairy farmers an early warning of ketosis – a condition that can reduce yield by over 500 kilos of milk per cow per year while adversely affecting reproduction and animal welfare.


The system went on trial as a new service to farmers in the Netherlands on 1st March 2011. It provides an indication of possible ketosis allowing suspect samples to be marked for further investigation. The result of the analyses is therefore not provided as a specific measurement, but as a warning that a cow is at risk.


Laboratories using the system can give the herd manager a monthly screening of early lactation cows and individual cows can be pointed out for treatment. Resources used on wet chemistry testing for ketosis can also be rationalised by limiting samples to those identified by the MilkoScan.


The indication of ketosis is provided by Fourier Transform Infrared (FTIR) technology already employed in analytical instruments such as the MilkoScan FT+ Analyser for testing a variety of parameters in milk such as fat and protein content. It was developed by FOSS in response to requests from dairy herd improvement associations for screening for ketosis as part of routine milk testing.


Ketosis occurs in dairy cattle when energy output for milk production is too high relative to energy input from feed and uptake from fat deposits. Sub clinical ketosis occurs when too little feed (or too low energy concentration in feed) is offered to the cow. Clinical ketosis occurs if the cow stops eating due to acidosis or other diseases while still producing milk.


Read an article on this subject on page 22 of In Focus Online using this link 

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