Registering for MilkSure Top Up – Q and A’s

Who is Top Up for?

This is for farms which are already MilkSure accredited, i.e. completed initial MilkSure course or Top Up the previous year. Top Up allows a farm to renew their accreditation but without needing to re-do the initial classroom training each year (the Technical Essentials) or initial test. It is like an annual MOT for their farm’s medicine use, also helping meet the most current Red Tractor standards.

What does Top Up consist of?

Top Up is similar to Part 2 of your initial MilkSure. In other words, the on farm risk assessment and medicines management plan with your vet. It includes a review of medicines used, a review of antibiotic use, and also a review of the previous year’s plan. For most farms it will take around 1½ hours to complete. There is a short (6 questions) refresher test to pass. Extra training shouldn’t be necessary for this, and it is designed to keep people up to date and demonstrate a degree of competency. At least one person must pass this, but there is no limit to the number per farm.

What does it cost?

Top Up registration costs £45 (£54 inc. VAT). Your MilkSure user-account will be renewed for another year. The time taken to complete Top Up (approx. 1½ hours) should be similar to if your vet were doing a medicines review, which is now required for Red Tractor Assurance in any case. You will need to pay your vet for their input.

How do we register?

Click on the “Renewal (Top Up)” button at the top right hand corner of the MilkSure home page. Fill in your farm’s details and your vet’s details. Proceed to payment, where you can pay by credit card/ debit card via PayPal, or opt to pay by Direct Bank Transfer.

What information do I need to register?

You will need your MilkSure number. This can be found on your previous workbook or Vet’s Certificate. You will need your nominated vet’s name and email address.

Do I need to tell my vet before I register?

As with initial MilkSure, your vet will be sent the materials (Top Up booklet). It makes sense to let them know before they receive your Top Up booklet.

Can any vet deliver MilkSure training and risk assessment?

There is no need for your vet to have done a “train the trainer” course beforehand as everything they need to complete Top Up will be sent to them directly. Many dairy vets are now MilkSure Champions, and whilst these are best placed to help you with MilkSure, it isn’t essential.

Why is there another test?

Whereas the initial MilkSure test is to check understanding of the Technical Essentials training, the shorter Top Up assessment is problem-based and checks basic competency. People who understand about using veterinary medicines will not find it difficult. It is important to continue to demonstrate competency and professionalism around medicine use on dairy farms.

What happens if there are new people on the farm to be trained?

If you have new people to do the Technical Essentials training, let the MilkSure office know and they will send a Technical Essential workbook and give access to the initial online test for them. There will be nothing extra to pay above your farm’s annual Top Up registration fee.

How often should the initial Technical Essentials training be repeated?

Currently, under Red Tractor standards, at least one person responsible for administering medicines must have done medicines training. The MilkSure Technical Essentials course fulfils this requirement. However, regulations and practices change over time and sometimes things get forgotten. Therefore, the Technical Essentials training should be repeated at least every three years. This time interval is consistent with bringing dairy into line with other livestock sectors (and is likely to become mandatory). The MilkSure office will know from their records when farms are due their Technical Essentials training and will send the workbook automatically, and open access to the main MilkSure test. If anyone wants to repeat the training more frequently (or if new people want to do it), simply let the MilkSure office know. There will be nothing extra to pay.

Are DairyPro points available?

The Technical Essentials course and test are worth a total of 7 points. There are no points for Top Up alone.

How long do we get to complete Top Up?

Normally, from registration, you have three months to complete Top Up. Your milk buyer may set a date by which you must complete your MilkSure accreditation (Top Up) each year.

What happens if our MilkSure accreditation lapses?

MilkSure accreditation lasts a year from when the vet signs the farm off. There is a 3-month renewal window from this due-date. If this lapses, the farm is no longer eligible for Top Up registration and must undertake the initial full MilkSure again. This costs more and takes longer as it always includes Technical Essentials training and the more stringent online test.

Why do we need to do this?

There is a lot of  attention on how veterinary medicines are used on farms. MilkSure is designed to reduce medicine residue failures, which is a costly problem for the dairy industry. It helps farms achieve higher standards for medicine stewardship which is important to protect markets for dairy produce. Farmers who have become MilkSure accredited generally say it was a valuable use of their precious time and helps them use medicines more efficiently.