On-Farm Culture

Updated 1/19/18

On-Farm Culture

On-farm culture is a fast, inexpensive way to diagnose the cause of mastitis in order to make the most appropriate treatment or management decisions. A milk sample is collected from a cow with symptoms of mastitis, swabbed onto a culture plate and incubated for 18-24 hours on the farm. Selective culture media helps the user distinguish between different types of bacteria that may grow on the culture plate. Using on-farm culture, dairy producers can easily make the following diagnoses:

  • No-Growth
  • Gram-negative
  • Gram-positive
  • Staph species (Tri-plate)
  • Strep Species (Tri-plate)
  • Staph aureus

The Minnesota Easy® Culture System II includes two options for on-farm culture:

bi-plate

The Bi-plate has Factor™ media (bright red, selects for Gram-positive growth only) on one side and MacConkey media (clear pink, selects for Gram-negative growth only) on the other side

tri-plate

The Tri-plate has a third media, Focus™ (dark red, formerly MTKT) which selects for Strep and Strep-like growth.

Consult with your veterinarian or contact us to discuss which Minnesota Easy® Culture plate is right for your dairy.

Getting Started

To get started using on-farm culture, you will need to order some supplies and equipment, and someone on your dairy will need some basic training in culture procedures and interpreting results. Culture plates and other supplies can be ordered from the Lab for Udder Health. Incubators, ranging in price from $70 for a Styrofoam egg incubator to $500 for a lab incubator, can be ordered online from several suppliers.

Get started by reviewing our Minnesota Easy® Culture System II User’s Guide, which describes how to set-up your on-farm lab and begin culturing. Download the User’s Guide below, or request that a printed copy be mailed you at Order Supplies.

The Laboratory for Udder Health offers on-farm culture training opportunities throughout the year. Contact us for information on our next available course.