UK research and development partners are collaborating 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. 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 offer a great opportunity to help manage AMR.
Precision technology to support greater sustainability in dairy production
Livestock health & welfare specialists RAFT Solutions Ltd is working with industry partners CIEL, QMMS (Quality Milk Management Services), Fera Science and OptiSense, to develop RapiPath – a new diagnostic solution that will provide a confirmed diagnosis to vets and farmers and enable results to be readily collated and shared.
The new tool is designed to:
• inform treatment decisions
• improve animal health & welfare
• increase productivity
• reduce costs
• enhance traceability.
The new solution could also importantly lead to a reduction in antimicrobial use across the dairy sector if faster diagnosis of pathogens can be made, and only targeted treatment implemented when indicated.
RapiPath expands the impact of an existing diagnostic testing platform previously developed by members of the project team to create new targeted modules relevant for the dairy industry – in particular bovine mastitis and antimicrobial resistance genes. The new tool will be available to vets and farmers to inform clinical practice, enable appropriate case selection for antimicrobial use and optimise farm profitability.
Innovate UK funding is supporting the project following a successful bid in the first wave of Transforming Food Production funding as part of the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund. The project will run until Summer 2022.
“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
To find out more about this project, contact RAFT Solutions Ltd [email protected] or CIEL Project Lead [email protected].