Dairy Health Check: Instant Herd Health Information - Right in the Palm of Your Hand

Published on Thu, 01/12/2017 - 1:01pm

Dairy Health Check: Instant Herd Health Information - Right in the Palm of Your Hand

By Steve Weisman

To a dairy producer, protecting the herd’s health and improving the financial bottom line go hand in hand. A healthy dairy herd means better milk quality and production. Historically, keeping track of herd health and milk quality have been time consuming tasks, often requiring lab results. Dairy Quality Inc., located in Newmarket, Ontario, is working to provide dairy producers with a quick and efficient way to check on their herd’s health status and milk quality, while at the same time saving them money.
Founded in 2012 by Gary and Mary Ellen Jonas, Dairy Quality Inc. (https://dairyquality.com) is a global leader in mobile microscopy and optics providing conventional and organic dairy farmers with innovative mobile-based technologies that encompass rapid somatic cell count (SCC) and ketosis testing protocols for all types of milk. The patent-pending technology allows dairy farmers to accurately and instantly test the health of individual cows and the milk in their bulk tanks through the use of an iPod Touch or iPhone.  
At the same time, Chris Gans, Vice President Sales and Chief Marketing Officer, shares the excitement of a partnership with Timac Agro USA (http://www.us.timacagro.com), located in Reading, PA. Timac Agro USA specializes in plant and animal nutrition with extensive expertise in crop nutrition, soil conditioning, fertilizer efficiency and animal welfare.
According to Cody Holden, U. S. Director of Animal Nutrition, Timac offers dairy producers a full line of products: bedding treatment, mineral blocks, liver drenches, feed additives and boluses. “Our entire product line is designed to improve dairy cattle health. We are always looking at the somatic cell numbers, and our products help provide immune support so that they don’t have to be taken out of milking or be given antibiotics.”
Holden goes on to say, “This is an exciting time for this partnership. At Timac, we share the same goals to help increase dairy health and producer profitability. We like the technology that Dairy Quality Inc. has to offer, and how easy it is to use the Dairy Health Check. We like the fact that it is hand-held and offers an immediate snapshot of that individual animal’s health and can also show the results for the entire herd. I think it will help us show our customers how our products are positively impacting their herd.”
Timac Agro USA will help customers utilize the Dairy Health Check on a daily basis and also offer the sale of Dairy Health Check through its online store, Timac website and through its local animal product specialists.
According to Gans, “We understand that dairy producers are very busy, so we have worked very hard to make the process simple and quick to use. We also understand the economic impact of what a loss of production, taking the sick cow out of production, the cost of antibiotics and down time can mean. With our new program, Dairy Health Check, producers can be on top of their herd’s health immediately. The program can also help to create a complete updated record of the entire herd’s health.”

What is Dairy Health Check
Dairy Health Check uses the latest advances in mobile microscopy combined with innovative somatic cell count and ketosis testing slides, and data aggregation tools. They give the producer the power to make decisions about herd health and breeding. Plus, it is right in the palm of the producer’s hand.
Dairy Health Check is an all-in-one mobile device for milk testing, and recording herd health information. Producers can keep each cow’s individual data and records all in one place, so the producer can track trends and make real-time updates on the ground—when and where it is needed the most.
Simply put, Dairy Quality devices provide instant and accurate SCC readings, and display an image of the actual milk sample showing the presence of somatic cells. Viewable on an iPod Touch or iPhone in seconds, the difference between a ‘good’ milk sample and a ‘problem’ milk sample is obvious.
Recent testing at the University of Guelph revealed the accuracy of the Dairy Health Check to be within 97 percent correlation with most international dairy SCC lab testing. This report can be downloaded at www.dairyquality.com. “We work with several universities, including the University of Guelph, University of Georgia, University of Kentucky, University of Tennessee and Virginia Tech University. At the same time, we have several dairy farm partners that will test our products and give us their feedback. They let us know what is working and what things they think we need to adjust or add. Our goal is to help dairy producers.”

What Dairy Health Check can do:
• Get instant results when testing the milk of individual cows or bulk storage tanks.
• Receive an indication of the possible pathogen. (Consult your veterinarian for confirmation of pathogen.)
• Store images, results and records automatically for future reference.
• Easily aggregate all of your SCC data to show the impact one cow has on your bulk tank average.
• Identify clinical and subclinical ketosis.
• Email results to your veterinarian, or upload your data to your existing farm management application.
• Keep real-time, detailed records of breeding events in your cow file and generate veterinary testing, calving, and dry off dates.
Gans adds, “When infections are detected early, cows can be treated faster. Since the data is instantly available on an iPhone or iPod, it can be emailed to a vet right away. The farmer and vet can come up with a treatment strategy together, addressing problems before they get worse.”

What customers say
Allison and Henry Pearl, who have the Hill Farm LLC near Danville, VT, are extremely pleased with the Dairy Health Check product. They have used the system for about four months. Allison says, “Our goal is to have our milk be at the premium level for quality. We have always done DHIA testing, where they come out and test the cows monthly, and then we will get a report later.” Unfortunately, time is lost before the information is sent back.
Allison notes, “By using the Dairy Health Check, we can check and within three minutes know exactly what that cow’s cell counts are. So, we can make decisions day-to-day, and it also helps us track cows that might have high cell counts.” For instance, Allison and Henry have found that cows coming off of having a calf will have higher cell counts. So, they will use that milk to feed their calves.
Meanwhile, Claire Stanley, who was born and raised on the family dairy farm in northern Vermont, agrees with Allison’s comments. ”We also have the monthly checks, but we really felt we wanted to have more timely results. Dairy Health Check is awesome and allows for more immediate results. It’s also extremely easy to use.”
Claire also adds that Dairy Quality is always there to answer any of her questions. “I’ve talked a lot with Shannon at Dairy Quality, and she has always been there to answer my questions. As a matter of fact, Shannon even made the trip down to visit us.”

How much can be saved
Yes, there is an upfront cost with the Dairy Health Check. However, here some questions producers need to ask themselves as they decide whether to use the product or not. How much could you save if:
• You had instant, accurate and early cow health issue detection?
• You could limit the spread of infection through your herd immediately?
• You could detect and correct ketosis before it affects your milk yields?
• You didn’t need to rely on third-party testing?
Dairy Quality LLC. also offers an online help for farmers. Entitled, “Ask Our Farmer,” it is a free, online, quality milk consulting by their own on-staff dairy farmer, Shannon McFadden. The site also includes YouTube videos taken on site at McFadden’s dairy or one of their other farm testing sites.  
“This is just the beginning of the Dairy Health Check’s evolution into a complete milk testing device.  We’re continuously investing in research and development to ensure lab-accurate results, and powerful data collection and aggregation.  Our goal is to give farmers a mobile device to manage all of their herd health data and records in one place,” concludes Gans.