With Arla now looking to roll out Arlagården Pus to all its UK milk suppliers, it may also only be a matter of time before other processors look to introduce their own versions.
Scoring all the cows for cleanliness, condition, lameness etc could be a lengthy process for some, however, the suggestion of a 1 €/cent bonus can make it appealing – a farmer supplying 1,000,000 kg of milk could receive an extra £8,850 (on current €/£ exchange rates) annually, should they submit and qualify each quarter. For larger producers, this could equate to tens of thousands of pounds annually. For a several hours work on assessing and inputting the data on a quarterly basis, this could be a worthwhile task for the average farmer in its current form.
As such, this is likely to be an extension of the current Arla audit regime, with the assessor checking the scoring results when the normal audit happens. It isn’t yet clear what the implications will be if the assessor deems the results to be inaccurate.
Farmers must be sure they have the time to assess and submit the data within the application windows. Only time will tell if this will spiral into further data input? Perhaps online records of antibiotic and medicine records in the future?
The incentive is certainly worth considering, particularly with the volatility seen in recent years – every pound helps, and with many dairy farmers already assessing the cows in a similar way, perhaps there isn’t much extra work. It may be that an App or software currently used on the farm is able to tabulate and submit to Arla, rather than re-keying data – this would save a reasonable amount of time, and hopefully streamline the process.