On Wednesday 5th February, Dairy-Tech 2019 showcased ground-breaking dairy technology, a fresh range of innovative products and services, as well as introducing new global concepts in agricultural efficiency. It is widely acknowledged that the show provides a diverse platform for businesses to stay informed, resilient and proactive within the longstanding dairy industry and equipped for the UK’s uncertain political future.
The Royal Dairy Innovation Award is presented to the most practical, relevant product or service which is, or likely to be, the most significant innovation for the future of dairying.
First to pitch on the day was Will Wilson, Director of ARK Agriculture, with his Ark Farm Safety Shirts. A product six months in the making, the high quality, high visibility work shirts are durable and breathable for farm workers to comfortably increase safety in the work place.
“Having taken these shirts for a road test ourselves and after some awesome feedback from customers, we can safely say these are a perfect safety solution for anyone working on a farm in the UK” said Mr.Wilson.
The shirts can be branded to reinforce a sense of team unity on the farm and the hard wearing double stitched seams and wicking material reduces sweating and odour during long work days.
Next to pitch for the award was Dr.Berwyn Clarke of PBD Biotech, who has developed an innovative diagnostic system for the rapid detection of bovine TB, Johnes disease and other mycobacterial infections. Dr.Clarke highlighted the impact of livestock disease on the UK economy and the long 10 week wait for existing ways of detecting the presence of live mycobacteria, as well as the worrying inaccuracy.
The new and unique Actiphage test is the only assay that precisely detects live bacteria in blood or milk in under six hours. The test developed by the start-up company originated from a test used to detect human TB, and has totally been refined and optimized to work on almost any substrate.
“We take the sample, whether it’s milk or blood and we add a bacterial virus. The virus essentially attacks the presence of the live bacteria. When the bacteria bursts it releases the DNA and that can be used for any number of analysis to determine what bacteria is present in the sample” said Dr.Clarke.
The Actiphage test could be vital to improve quality assurance in dairy farming, allowing rapid detection of contaminated milk or dairy products, especially those sold at the farm gate or using unpasteurised milk. It could also be used for giving healthy cows a clean bill of health for travel, preventing spread of the disease and providing the industry with new ways to control movement of potentially infected animals both locally and internationally.
Last to pitch was Aled Rhys Davies of Pruex, a company that helps farmers find the source of infection on livestock farms and assists them in changing hygiene and husbandry strategies to limit the introduction of toxic bacteria.
Mr.Davies explained that livestock are not exposed to high levels of ammonia and E.coli when they are grazing outside – it’s when they are housed inside that increased levels of toxic bacteria can cause infection and disease. His solution is to surround housed animals with the same bacteria they come into contact with outside to reduce the need for antibiotics.
“Let’s not muck about with treating the symptoms, let’s get to the cause. Using Pruex we can maintain a healthy environment surrounded by soil for housed animals to reduce the need for antibiotics. This is an innovation that can allow agriculture to lead the fight against anti-microbial resistance” Mr Davies concluded.
After much deliberation between a select panel of judges, PBD Biotech’s new Actiphage testing technology was crowned winner of the Royal Dairy innovation Award 2019, and the trophy was presented to the start-up company by Princess Anne.
Congratulations to ARK Agriculture, Pruex and PBD Biotech for their unique contributions to the long-term efficiency and profitability of the dairy industry.