The Future of How We Milk Cows

The Future Of How We Milk Cows


In-Line Milk Analysis Will Change The Way We Manage Dairy Herds

One of the coolest new developments in the dairy industry in recent years is in-line milk analysis. This new technology, which takes a few different forms, attaches directly to the milking line and analyses each cow’s milk for things like mastitis, heat, ketosis and more. There are a few different products on the market, but SomaDetect and Delaval’s Herd Navigator seem to hold the most benefits for farmers.


What is it? SomaDetect is an in-line sensor and software system which measures every compound in raw milk – fat, protein, somatic cell counts, progesterone and antibiotics.

How does it work? SomaDetect’s sensor attaches directly to the milking line. As milk passes through the sensor, a beam of light is sent through the milk. The light hits small particles in the milk, causing the beam to change direction and scatter. By measuring the scattering of the milk SomaDetect can then measure the different components in the milk. SomaDetect’s software processes all this information in real time and presents it in a practical way that is easy for farmers to understand and use.

Why it’s important: With SomaDetect, farmers can know the health and reproductive status of each cow as well as the quality of milk produced every day. They can also be notified of any issues such as cases of mastitis or antibiotics. Equipped with this data farmers can:

  • Fine tune the management of their herd to produce the best possible milk
  • Ensure reproductive success
  • Catch diseases and health issues early to minimise the use of antibiotics and keep cows healthy

Delaval Herd Navigator

Delaval’s Herd Navigator has been on the market for a few years now. It takes the form of a big blue box which collects daily milk during milking, analyses it and sends the information to your computer. The Herd Navigator allows for early detection of mastitis, ketosis, heat, reproduction disorders and metabolic disorders and it recommends what action you should take for each individual cow.

SomaDetect estimates that, worldwide, dairy farmers lose $175 B annually due to an inability to quickly and adequately identify disease, cows in heat, eliminate anti-microbial contamination and to manage overall production. It’s obvious the detailed information provided by in-line milk analysis can have a huge impact on the way a farmer manages his herd and on his profitability.

We’re excited about what this technology can mean for farmers and look forward to hearing about its use on farms and in South Africa.