On-Farm Testing – The Future Trend of Antibiotic Testing


One of the most common errors made with animal drugs is using the incorrect dosage.  This can be caused by misjudging the weight of an animal or incorrectly identifying the disease conditions. Either mistake means the wrong dosage is administered and if too much is dosed, then antibiotic residue exceeding the regulatory threshold will remain even after the withholding period has passed.

Another serious error is not following the correct milk withdrawal period. That is, the time necessary for the cow to metabolise the antibiotic and for the antibiotic to decrease to a safe, acceptable level. Certain treatments will have various times. For example, Cloxacillin is 48 hours, Amoxicillin 60 hours, Penicillin 72 hours and Cephapirin 96 hours.  Milk produced during that period must be disposed of 

Both situations could result in milk becoming positive for residues. The end result is that all milk within a receiving tanker is dumped or, even worse, the silo is dumped which can result in huge fines or other penalties to the farmer. 

The truth is, not all farmers are bad and most do their best to ensure their milk is free from antibiotic residues.

Unfortunately, most farms don’t have the facility let alone the skills required to conduct and interpret antibiotic test results. With newer advanced testing technology, farmers are now taking control of the situation. With the availability of simple, rapid screening tests, farmers are now equipping themselves with the latest technology in antibiotic testing.

The Charm ROSA with its robust system and its patented one step technology has proved so popular that some dairy farms have more than 1 unit - more than even some of the major milk processors.  

ROSA provides farmers with a simple test system to quickly screen their milk for antibiotic residues prior to dispatch, without the long incubation time required in the standard microbial inhibition test. The gives them assurance knowing that their milk is free from antibiotics.

And that’s not all, the ROSA can detect the common drug Excenel, a Beta-Lactam that’s commonly used to treat mastitis, but difficult to detect with some testing kits. This alone is just one of the reasons why major Australian dairy processors have adopted the Charm ROSA. Even after extensive validations and trials, the ROSA still came out on top.    

Real Life Comment

Here’s what the CEO of Ace Farming, Jeremy Bayard, has to say about the Charm ROSA system: 

ACE Farming Company has implemented a rigorous on-farm milk testing regime as part of its quality assurance program.”  

“We decided to install Rosa Readers and incubators on each of our farms to safeguard our milk quality”.  

“We have stringent herd management protocols in place, but even the most rigorous regime is not foolproof. So now at the end of each milking our farm managers are required to test the milk and sign-off its suitability for collection.”  

“Milk is our currency. We can’t afford to put out product that isn’t of the highest quality.”  

“It would seem likely in the near future that processors will require all farms to go down this path, just to ensure the integrity of product that they are buying.” 

“Our neighboring farmers have already started requesting to use our test kits when they think they have a problem. The testing certainly provides peace of mind." 

“While the initial investment can seem expensive, when it is amortised over a number of years it’s a sensible investment. It really only needs to save a couple of wasted vats of milk to pay its way."  

Everyone a Winner 

So now, on-farm testing for antibiotic residues means that farmers and milk processors can work together to ensure the quality of milk is free from antibiotic residues. A win-win situation for both parties. 


Arrow Scientific Pty Ltd

Unit 1, 332 Burns Bay Road, Lane Cove NSW 2066

Ph: 02 9427 7455  -  Fax: 02 9427 7456


References:1. Milk and Dairy Beef Residue Prevention Protocol 2009 - Milk and Dairy Beef Quality Assurance Program


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