Herd Management Tools

The new Herd Management Tools for the CombiScope FTIR milk analyzer allow dairy farms to quickly measure de novo fatty acids and non-esterified fatty acids in milk. Farm managers can use this information to improve milk composition and total yield of their herds. It also provides early warnings of nutritional and metabolic diseases common during early lactation.

FTIR milk analysis is rapid, uses no reagents, and measures several compositional parameters simultaneously. It has been used for many years to measure the major components in milk. Thanks to the collaborative research together with Cornell University, Miner Institute and St. Albans Cooperative Creamery, the Delta CombiScope can now also measure milk fatty acid composition.

The Herd Management Tools are composed by two prediction model sets: the de novo fatty acid set and the blood NEFA set.

The de novo fatty acid set

This set has six chemometric predictive models that group milk fatty acids according to their chain length and relation to their biosynthetic origin in the cow.

When applied to bulk tank milk with 130-150 days in milk, these models provide information that can be used for: 

  • Increasing production, total fat and true protein output.
  • Improving feed efficiency
  • Preventing milk fat depression. 

When applied to individual cow milks with up to 12 days in milk, they can provide early warnings of the risk of displaced abomasum within 3-4 days of the onset condition.

Components Range  Accuracy – herd
typical (Syx)
Repeatability –
typical (Sr)
Absolute de novo FA in g/100g milk 0.05-1.85 0.025 0.010
Absolute mixed FA in g/100g milk 0.05-2.05 0.045 0.015
Absolute preformed FA in g/100g milk 0.05-2.55 0.055 0.030
Relative de novo FA in g/100g FA 15-32 0.8 0.35
Relative mixed FA in g/100g FA  25-40 1.15 0.45
Relative preformed FA in g/100g FA 32-57 1.20 0.60

The blood NEFA set

The presence of high non-esterified fatty acids (NEFA) levels in the blood in a dairy cow signal a severe negative energy status. Excessive negative energy balance in early lactation of dairy cows results in metabolic disorders, such as ketosis, fatty liver and displaced abomasum.

The milk based predicted blood non-esterified fatty acids (NEFA) provide farmers with early warnings on clinical and subclinical ketosis in cow with up to 60 days in milk.

Component Range  Accuracy –
cow specified
Repeatability –
typical (Sr)
 Repeatability –
specified (Sr)
NEFA (blood) in µEq/l  200-1860 172 30 60