Herd testing

Herd testing gives you valuable information to help manage your herd and boost milk quality and production.

Herd testing identifies:

  • high producers you can use for breeding
  • poor producers that need to be dried off or culled
  • animals with mastitis that need treatment, drying off or culling.

Make informed breeding and culling decisions with an understanding of your herd’s breeding worth (BW) and production worth (PW). Herd testing helps you track and monitor your herd’s performance and assess how effective your management decisions have been.

Prove your herd’s worth 

Regular herd testing increases the market value of your herd, by giving you more reliable BW and PW figures. Buyers are likely to pay more for animals with a proven history of both PW and BW.

Improve the quality of the national herd

Herd tests play a vital role in improving the quality of the national herd. Data from herd tests is used to identify productive animals that can be selectively bred to provide genetic gains for the dairy industry as a whole.

Herd testing involves collecting a representative milk sample from every milking animal in your herd. The samples are sent to our laboratories in Christchurch or Hamilton and tested for: 

We use the data to create a number of reports which we send to your MINDA account.

Book a herd test 

To book a herd test contact your LIC rep or your local Herd Test Depot.

Set up the shed and take the milk samples

Our staff will set up the meters in your shed before every herd test. If it’s your first herd test they’ll do a shed inspection beforehand and talk you through the process of taking the milk samples. We provide written information as well.  

You can also book a Herd Test Assist Technician to help you with the test by contacting your LIC rep or local Herd Test Depot.

Storing the samples

Store the samples in a cool dry place, away from direct sunlight and other heat sources such as chiller units or compressors, ready to be collected.

Collecting the samples 

Our staff will collect your milk samples and send them to our laboratories for testing. They’ll also collect the meters — though you need to dismantle and wash the meters yourself.  

Getting the results 

You’ll get a preliminary report called a Lab Strip in your Member Services account a day or so after the test. The Lab Strip includes all the raw data from the test.

You should receive a full report with a comprehensive analysis of your herd’s performance within four days of the test — as long as you meet herd recording requirements.  

A full herd test report includes a 24-hour individual somatic cell count which identifies  animals with both sub-clinical and clinical mastitis. 

If you don’t meet herd recording requirements all you will receive is a Lab Strip with information about the actual number of somatic cells in every milk sample. 

Understanding somatic cell counts

A classic test involves taking samples from an afternoon milking followed by a morning milking. For a single test, samples are taken either from a morning or an afternoon milking.

Frequency of herd testing

We recommend having at least four herd tests a season to provide comprehensive information for on-farm decision making, whether you choose a classic or a single test.

Classic testing (taking two samples) produces the most reliable results because it provides a more representative, 24-hour production sample from each cow. 

If you milk twice a day but choose a single test, morning testing is more reliable than afternoon testing because cows usually produce more milk in the morning. This means that morning samples are larger and provide a more accurate picture of a cow’s performance. 

More herd tests during a season means a more accurate assessment of each cow’s PW and BW. If you want to sell your herd — or to sell individual animals — an accurate assessment of PW and BW is particularly important. 

You’ll miss out on important information about your herd if your records aren’t up to date, as we can’t send you the full test results if you don’t meet herd recording requirements.  

You have 150 days to resolve any queries about your calving or tagging records. Once 150 days has elapsed we are legally required to delete the test results from our system.  However, you can still access the information about somatic cell counts in the Lab Strip.

Our staff will set up the meters in your shed before every herd test. They’ll also collect the meters — and your milk samples — once the test is finished.

If it’s your first herd test they’ll do a shed inspection beforehand, advise you on how many brackets to buy and talk you through the sampling process. 

You can also book a Herd Test Assist Technician to help you with the test. Our technicians are trained in all aspects of herd testing and can help with a wide range of tasks, from changing flasks to washing the equipment after you’ve finished the test.  

To book a Herd Test Assist Technician contact your LIC rep or local Herd Test Depot

Save time with our EZ Link handheld scanners, which link the barcodes on the herd-test flasks with each animal’s cow-tag number. All you need to do is enter the tag number into the device, rather than writing it on the flask by hand.

You can speed up the process even more by pairing the scanner with an EZ Link EID wand. Use the wand to scan the tags and send the number automatically to the handheld device —  there’s no need to enter the number into the device yourself.  

Ordering EZ Link devices

Order EZ Link scanners and wands at the same time as you book your herd test. You can also order them after you’ve booked the test, though if you’re new to EZ Link don’t leave this too late — we need time to show you how to use the device.  

We provide customer training to first-time EZ Link users before the test. Our staff can also stay in the shed on the day of the test if you need more help.

We use milk samples from herd testing for several of our animal health tests:

Once we’ve finished herd testing, we send the milk samples to our Animal Health laboratory for additional testing.

Order these animal health tests separately from a herd test — call 0800 436362 or talk to your LIC rep or vet to find out more. 

We charge additional fees for:

  • booking a Herd Test Assist Technician
  • booking EZ Link scanners and EZ Link EID wands.

If you cancel within 30 days or reschedule within 7 days of your herd test date you’ll be charged a fee to cover the costs associated with planning and scheduling a test.

Herd test prices

Service fee

Sample fee classic test *

Sample fee single test**

1st herd test

Service fee $335.00

Sample fee classic test * $2.19

Sample fee single test** $1.99

2nd herd test

Service fee $335.00

Sample fee classic test * $2.19

Sample fee single test** $1.99

3rd herd test

Service fee $235.00

Sample fee classic test * $2.19

Sample fee single test** $1.99

4th and subsequent tests

Service fee $155.00

Sample fee classic test * $2.19

Sample fee single test** $1.99

* Samples collected at both evening and morning milkings.
**Samples collected at either the morning or evening milking.

Emergency Herd Test fee

This fee is in addition to the standard herd test fee.

Service type

Fee

Service type Emergency Herd Test fee

Fee $300

InvestaTest discount

Qualification for InvestaTest is at least four Herd Tests in a season. For the 2017/2018 season the InvestaTest discount levels are: 

  • 3% discount in your first year of qualification 
  • 5% discount in your second consecutive year of qualification 
  • 10% discount in your third and subsequent consecutive year(s) of qualification

The InvestaTest discount will be paid as a rebate at the end of the season (after 31 May). It applies to visit and per cow test fees only, not to the Assist and other services. 

LIC assist technician prices

Per assist technician

Classic test

Single test

Service fee and first hour

Classic test $181.00

Single test $148.00

Per 15 minutes and thereafter

Classic test $11.00

Single test $11.00

EZ Link prices

Cost per test

EZ Link hand scanner

Cost per test $99.00

EZ Link EID wand

Cost per test $159.00

Note: If you put one herd through two or more locations you’ll need multiple EZ Link devices.

Herd test equipment cleaning fee

If herd test equipment is not cleaned to a suitable standard when collected from farm, a cleaning fee may be charged. 

Fee

Herd test equipment cleaning

Fee $195

Herd test cancellation and date change fees

Days out from booked herd test

Date change

Cancellation

Days out from booked herd test 0-7 days

Date change $135.00*

Cancellation $235.00*

Days out from booked herd test 8-15 days

Date change $0

Cancellation $185.00

Days out from booked herd test 16-30 days

Date change $0

Cancellation $72.00

* An extra fee applies if a Herd Test Assist was booked (to cover the Assist's first hour): $181 for Classic Test; $148 for Single Test

Herd testing brackets

You’ll need to buy new brackets when you first set up your shed for herd testing. You may occasionally need to replace old or broken brackets.

Cost

Extended right angle bracket

Cost $19.65

Right angle brackets (ordinary meter bracket)

Cost $18.30

Nib wall bracket (for lowline and internal rotary installation)

Cost $8.40

Short right angle brackets (suit rotaries)

Cost $11.70

Straight bracket

Cost $11.80

Super extended right angle bracket

Cost $21.90

U bolts and backing flange (U bolt pack)

Cost $13.80

Your tagging and calving records must be up to date in MINDA to receive your full herd test results, as required by the New Zealand Standard: Dairy Herd Testing (NZS8100:2015)

The standard sets out what certified herd testers and farmers must do to meet the objectives of the Dairy Industry Herd Testing Regulations, which are administered by the Ministry for Primary Industries.

Under the standard, you have 150 days to update your records. After that, we are required to   permanently delete the test results from our system. However, you can still access the information about somatic cell counts in your Lab Strip report.   

Accurate data increases the productivity of the national herd

As a certified herd tester, we are required to send accurate data from every herd test to the New Zealand Dairy Core Database. The database holds information about the productivity of every dairy cow in New Zealand. It is an important tool for improving the genetic makeup of the national herd.  

The value of the database depends on the quality of the data in it.

To get accurate data we need access to your most recent calving and tagging records in MINDA.  If your records aren’t up to date we can’t release your full herd test results. That means you lose out on valuable information and so does the industry as a whole, as we can’t send your test results to the Dairy Core Database. 

Recording requirements to receive the full herd test results

You must meet the following herd recording requirements for all lactating animals on your property to receive the full results from your herd test:

At least 95% of lactating cows must be tagged and recorded in MINDA.

At least 75% of lactating cows should have the date of their latest calving recorded in MINDA. 

Updating your records after the test

If your tagging and calving records are not up to date at the time of the herd test you can update them in the next 150 days. The sooner you update them the sooner you’ll get the full herd test results — and the more useful the results will be. 

Complete the Request an exemption to the herd test change or cancellation fee to request an exemption.

To cancel your herd test or change any of the details, please contact your LIC rep or local herd test depot.

Arrange a herd test

Increase your herd's productivity and value – arrange a herd test today.

Contact your local LIC Rep

Or, get in touch with your local Herd Test Depot.

Arrange a herd test

Increase your herd's productivity and value – arrange a herd test today.

Contact your local LIC Rep

Or, get in touch with your local Herd Test Depot.