MilkSure Top Up – Q and A’s

Which farms 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?

Your vet will make a charge for delivering Top Up for your farm. 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 and their expertise.

Do I need to register for Top Up?

Since 1st November 2020, it is no longer necessary to register your farm individually for MilkSure Top Up, like it was previously. You can undertake the Top Up refresher test with a MilkSure Champion vet, who will have a license to use the programme on your behalf. You must also complete your farm’s risk assessment, and this should be with your own usual vet. A Top Up booklet is used to record the farm’s risk assessment and management plan.

Does my vet need to be a MilkSure Champion to deliver Top Up?

Yes. Since November 2020 this has been a requirement, and access to the Programme is through MilkSure Champion vets, who are licensed by BCVA to deliver both MilkSure and Top Up. Presently, the farm risk assessment and management plan can be completed by another vet within the same practice, under the guidance of the MilkSure Champion.

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, this should be done with the MilkSure Champion vet.

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 five years or possibly more frequently, depending on milk buyer/ retailer scheme. This time interval is consistent with bringing dairy into line with other livestock sectors and is likely to become mandatory. If you wish to repeat the training more frequently (or if new people want to do it), simply do so with your MilkSure Champion vet.

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.

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.