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Industry Game-changer Tackles Antibiotic Resistance Head-on

Fast, practical, cost-effective and accurate mastitis testing – at scale – is now available for farmers looking to 'know their bugs and use less drugs' through DairySmart's leading edge diagnostic system.

DairySmart, winner of the 2023 Technology Innovation title at the National Primary Industries Awards, is on a mission to transform mastitis management in New Zealand. In the process, they can make life happier and less stressful for farmers and their staff, improve cow well-being, reduce antibiotic use and tackle antibiotic resistance – all while reducing costs.

It’s an audacious approach to the perennial thorn in the side of NZ dairy, and it’s ramping up at speed this season thanks to increased funding from investors.

Centred on a novel system of whole herd milk culture-based pathogen screening and the Jupiter machine, a world first AI and machine learning software technology for sample analysis, DairySmart feeds results back to farmers and their vets within 48 hours of taking a milk sample.

DairySmarts clever tech identifies which cows are infected with which pathogen, giving a clear picture of cows with harmful bacteria lurking in their milk.

The company’s validated in-flow sample tool fitted to each milking line is so different from existing techniques DairySmart has applied for a patent for the design. It means no hand sampling, and allows its techs to on-farm test 160-200 cows per hour.

Human error is likewise removed from the process via a specially-designed wand which reads each cow’s ear tag and logs it directly to RFID embedded sample pottles. There is no need for handwriting in this system!

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Farmers who have implemented DairySmart say it’s been a game-changer, empowering them and their teams with hard data, enabling better decision making, and easing the frustration, stress and cost of repeatedly dealing with mastitis cows.

Over 50,000 cows have now been sampled across NZ and farmers have seen up to a 45% reduction in dry-cow antibiotic use compared to other strategies, there’s no shortage of evidence.

DairySmarts’ culture based system identifies what type of bugs (or not) are in a cows udder at drying off. This allows vets and farmers to make a plan for the correct treatment of each animal. Typically the result is less antibiotic treatments, without any detrimental effects on udder health in the following season.

In fact, on Mike Prattley’s 2200 cow North Canterbury farm, antibiotic usage is down 90 per cent after two years of using DairySmart diagnostics, mastitis is down 55 per cent, and SCC are down 33 per cent.

Ben Davidson, CEO for DairySmart, puts the potential impact for DairySmart in perspective – “When you think of the NZ autumn, we’ve basically got about five million cows that are dried off in a two month window.

“Some of them need certain antibiotics, but many of them don’t and up until now, there hasn’t been a fast, accurate way to mass sample and cultre these cows for identifying individual mastitis pathogens, or to mass process the results.

“DairySmart can process thousands of cow's milk samples a day, and any result that our Jupiter machine is not 100 per cent sure about is referred to SVS Labs for their microbiologists to analyse. The results are then fed back into the software, constantly improving the Jupiter machines ability to diagnose milk cultures.

“The way the whole antibiotic resistance issue is shaping up for our veterinary industry, vet practices are becoming a really important part of supporting responsible, strategic use of antibiotics and DairySmart is what they’ve been missing. SCC data gives us an idea of inflammation, and now DairySmart can tell us if there are any bacteria present in the udder, which may indicate an infection that needs treating. This gives peace of mind when deciding on best treatment options."

For farmers looking to 'get smart' this dry-off season they can visit or call 0800 SAMPLE (0800 726 753)

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