Registering for the MilkSure Programme – Q and As

Who should register?
Any dairy farmer can register for MilkSure, but some farms may be obliged to be MilkSure accredited as part of their milk contract.

How do I register?
Go to the website and click on the “Register for course” button at the top right hand corner and fill in your farm’s details and your vet’s details. Please avoid any capital letters when you type in your vet’s email address. Proceed to payment, where you can pay by credit card/ debit card via PayPal, or opt to pay by Direct Bank Transfer. Your order will not be processed until payment has been received.

What information do I need to register?
You will need your nominated vet’s name and email address (check carefully and please avoid capital letters). If paying by card, you will need those details too.

What does it cost?
Initial registration costs £54.17 (£65 inc. VAT). This covers the programme materials (Workbook and Manual) and access to the website dashboard, including the on-line test. It does not include any costs your vet is likely to charge you for their time delivering the training and risk assessment, which will be for yourself and your vet to agree.

Do I need to tell my vet before I register?
Yes. You must nominate the vet you usually work with (the one who normally does your routine visits for example, or decides which medicines you can normally use), as you will work through the programme together. It makes sense to let them know before they receive your training materials.

Can any vet deliver the programme?
Yes; there is no need for your vet to have done a “train the trainer” course beforehand as everything they need to do the course with you will be sent directly to them. They will probably need to do a bit of homework beforehand, particularly if yours is the first MilkSure training they have delivered, but they will be able to draw on their normal veterinary knowledge and skills. Most farm vets are pretty familiar with MilkSure now, and many have become MilkSure Champions.

What happens after I register?
Once payment has been received, your nominated vet and you will be sent an email which has log-in details to access the full MilkSure website, where the on-line test can be found (check your junk email if not received within a working day of payment). Your vet will receive in the post a Workbook and Manual which you will use together, as well as a Vet’s Guide which explains all they need to know about delivering the programme.

What does the programme consist of?
The programme will take a total of three hours. Around 80 minutes will be required to cover Part 1, the “technical essentials” training – how residue failures commonly occur, why residues matter, how withdrawal periods are set, how using medicines “off label” can affect withdrawal periods, correct medicine handling and storage, etc. This part of the programme can be done as a group with several other farms or one-to-one.
The next part of the programme, Part 2, also takes around 80 minutes. It is a practical look at which medicines you use in your herd, how you use them, and what the main risks are for residue failures on your farm. This part must be done on-farm and must be one-to-one with your vet. You may complete your annual antibiotic review with your vet at the same time (this is a Red Tractor Dairy Farm Assurance Standard).
Finally, an online test will take around 20 minutes and is best done after both other parts of the programme have been completed.

I don’t like tests! Is it difficult?
The point of the test is to check that you understand the main principles covered in the training, and to give some quality assurance. It’d be pretty difficult to pass without doing the training first, but vets are encouraged to help farmers if necessary.

Who should receive the Part 1 “technical essentials” training?
The registration fee is per farm not per person. All people on the farm who either milk cows or administer veterinary treatments would benefit from the training, but the person whose overall responsibility it is to ensure the milk sold is residue-free should definitely complete the whole course. More than one person from each farm can do the online test if they wish, and each will receive their own certificate if they pass.

Are DairyPro points available?
Yes, the technical essentials training course and test are worth a total of 7 points.

How long do we get to complete the programme?
From registration, you have three months to complete all parts of MilkSure with your vet.

Why do we need to do this?
Medicine residues above permitted levels in milk are illegal, and never a good thing, whether from a human health, manufacturing quality, or public perception viewpoint. Medicine use on dairy farms is under increasing scrutiny. The MilkSure programme is designed to raise standards around medicine use on dairy farms and reduce our medicine residue failure rate, which is a costly problem for the industry. Farmers who have already done the course have said it was a valuable use of their precious time.