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Latest News

Hygiene Challenge
05 December 2018
NML records increase in thermoduric bacteria
While the national somatic cell count average in bulk milk has improved, as we move from summer into autumn, milk quality testing laboratory NML has recorded an increase in both bactoscan and thermoduric results.
“A fall in cell counts and an increase in bactoscan results follows a seasonal trend,” says NML’s Ben Bartlett.
The NML average SCC for bulk milk samples dropped by 30,000 cells/ml from August to October, when the average was 165,000 cells/ml. Bactoscans increased from 25 in August to 30 in October.
NML is also seeing elevated thermoduric counts. “These are bacteria that can survive pasteurisation and can, therefore, affect product quality and shelf life,” says Mr Bartlett.  
“The potential impact of thermoduric bacteria is becoming increasingly recognised and so it is important that they are kept under control. Ideally, thermoduric counts should be under 500 cfu/ml.”
“Managing thermoduric bacteria is all about cleanliness – clean cows and a clean parlour. If a problem does crop up then it is important to establish the nature of the bacteria in the milk, as this can indicate the source of the problem.”  
NML offers a parlour hygiene test costing £25. It uses a standard bulk milk sample which makes the procedure very straight-forward for producers. “This test is available to all producers and it can help to verify whether the issue is caused by faecal contamination or a build- up of deposits in the parlour.
“Test results are supported with guidance notes to help ensure that attention is placed in the most relevant areas,” he adds.
NML has also published a step-by-step guide to tackling high thermoduric counts, which can be downloaded for free from

Guide to thermoduric management
For more information contact:
Ben Bartlett, NML,        +44 7974 313269
Or visit the NMR web site on

19 April 2018
The 2018 HerdWise Best Practice Award for Johne’s Control has been presented to James Smith, herdsman for TWF Hawking, Oldfield Farm near Chippenham with runner up is Laura Elliott from Tedion Farm, Lawrenny,  in Pembrokeshire.
The awards were presented at the NMR open day at Longnor, Shropshire by host farmer and winner of the 2017 award Tim Downes and award judge Karen Bond.
Oldfield Farm, that has a 240-cow Holstein Friesian herd in an organic system, was presented with £500 of Johne’s testing vouchers, a silver salver and luxury hamper. The herd’s veterinary practice George Vets from Malmesbury, under the guidance of vet Ian Cardiff, also received a trophy to recognise its contribution to the herd’s Johne’s control programme.
Runner up, Laura Elliott, runs a 270 Friesian and Jersey grazing based and spring calving herd. She received £250 of HerdWise vouchers.
Certificates were awarded to two further finalists –Mark Knight from New Spittles Farm, near Yeovil, Somerset, and Andrew Hall from Hale Hall Farm, near Preston in Lancashire.
Now in its fourth year, the award is open to all 1700 herds using the CHeCS-accredited quarterly milk screening service HerdWise.
Judges, Lyndon Edwards and NMR vet Karen Bond, look for producers who are working with their vet and using risk assessment and screening services to develop a control plan specific to their herd.
“But equally importantly is that we look for herds demonstrating best practice in Johne’s disease control on their farm, with the whole team engaged in planned protocols. And we look for evidence that sound progress is being made,” says Mrs Bond.
“The vet plays a vital role in the success of the control plans; they are very much part of the team and our four finalists all illustrate this in their on-farm plans and in their success to date.”
Working closely with the Johne’s Action Group, she highlights the group’s target of 95% of herds having a signed declaration by their vet confirming that a robust Johne’s control plan is in place on the farm by October 2018.
“Many vets and producers are working hard towards this target, but there is still some way to go in the remaining six months and we hope that this award will inspire others to commit to Johne’s control in their herds.”
For more information and photographs contact:
Karen Wright, NMR PR, 07860 504047
Or visit the NMR web site on