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Why use Milk Pregnancy Testing?

It’s accurate
  • Accurate pregnancy results – specificity and sensitivity figures indicate a very low 2% inaccuracy rate
  • Our test kit has been validated from day 28 from service, with high sensitivity and specificity
It’s easy and cost-effectiveCost Effective Icon
  • Our test kit is based on simple, cost-effective ELISA technology
  • Using existing NMR samples – there is no need for additional samples
  •  Ideal test for rechecks, supplement to early diagnosis and dry off checks
  • Contributes to higher animal welfare by improving herd longevity and fertility performance
  • Ad hoc testing between recordings is available  
It pays as a recheck
  • Reduces days Open saving between £4.00-£5.50 (Kingshay/Kite Consultants) per day
  • Serve cows again, before they are a long way into the current lactation
  • Fewer culls and lower replacement costs
  • Automatic FREE retesting of samples in the recheck zone in the next recording
It pays as a dry-off check
  • Reduced cow treatment costs
  • Reduced feed costs during dry period
  • Maximise milk revenue, or sell an animal as barren
  • Peace of mind – reconfirmed pregnant prior to moving to the dry area
It’s flexibleFlexible List Icon

At NMR recordings, ask the Milk Recorder to:
  • Manually select the animals you want to get PD based on a list you provide; or
  • Use the auto-select system – two options are available, days after calving and/or days after service
Discuss with your vet which would be most suitable. Once set, they can be automatically used again the month after.
Questions & Answers
How accurate is the test?

The tests are 94.4% (1) specific (over 28 days from service), and 98.7% (2) sensitive.

Do I need to take additional samples?

No. The existing NMR sample can be used, reducing cost and hassle in the milking parlour.

Can I do intermediate testing, between recordings?

Yes. Sample boxes are available for this purpose, containing all the required paperwork and free postage.  Contact customer services for more details.

How do I select which animals are going to be pregnancy tested at the milk recording?

The Milk Recorder has the required software; there are two options:
  • Manual; provide a list to the Milk Recorder, of the cows you want to put forward to pregnancy test, and they will select the animals for you. Check that the cow has been served at least 28 days.
  • Auto Select; here you can ask the Milk Recorder to go for Days after Calving and / or Days after service. You can choose what the criteria should be e.g. 150 days after calving or 70 days after service.
Whatever option you choose, the Milk Recorder will be able to tell you how many animals have been selected, and if you wish to revise the list (removing animals if required), that is part of the service.

Can I use other milk samples?

Yes, if you use other ad hoc testing services from NMR, e.g. Essential Sampling, just download the sample submission form from this website – found in my NMR, and add it to the sample box with your other paperwork, letting us know which samples to test for PD.  No additional samples are required.

Will I know how many animals will be tested each month?

The software used by the Milk Recorder will let you know how many animals have been selected, at the end of the recording.

Do I have to do anything prior to the service starting?

We would recommend that you allocate some time with the NMR Area Field Manager to ensure that as much fertility data is recorded (Service and PD information), so that animals are not tested in error. We also encourage you to work with your vet to determine the optimum fertility management programme for your herd.

Does the test show how many days into gestation the animal is?

No, the test only shows that the animal is pregnant, it gives no indication of the stage of gestation, so if an animal has been served several times, a decision on farm will need to be made to decide which service to use, to then schedule the correct Drying off date.

Does the quality of the milk sample affect the test result?

Poor quality samples may compromise the accuracy of the test result. Ensure the animal is correctly identified and milk carryover between samples is minimized (milk recording jars should be completely emptied between cows); long milk tubes  need to be cleared between animals.

Does this mean we don't need a Vet or PD scanner to PD the animals?

No; this is seen an additional check, backing up what happens already on farm, identifying animals that might have reabsorbed the embryo after being confirmed in calf - currently 7-10% animals will do so prior to 100 days from service.

Does the milk test still detect PAGs after early embryonic death or after abortion?
Yes; PAG's will circulate in milk for a certain period of time - research shows up to 7 days after early embryonic death, and longer after an abortion later in gestation; up to 15 days, as the animal reaches 200 days gestation.

Is this service 100% accurate?

No service is 100% accurate. Specificity and sensitivity figures indicate a very low (2%) inaccuracy rate, which is comparable with rectal palpation. Animals can also suffer embryonic loss after a positive PD result (around 7%).

Where are the results displayed?

The results are displayed in NMR's Herd Companion software in the iReports under evaluation and testing. There are two reports, one showing the pregnancy test results and the other showing each animals pregnancy status. The milk pregnancy results are added the the NMR records by our processing office as soon as the results are available, as long as there is an appropriate service date to apply the PD to. If there is no service date then you will be asked the next month to provide one so that we can apply the PD to that.

(1) and (2) IDEXX Milk Pregnancy Test Validation Report

For further information on our Milk Pregnancy Testing service, please contact Customer Services.