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The cost of a higher Somatic Cell Count

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Autumn can be a tricky time of year to maintain a low Somatic Cell Count (SCC), Glanbia Ireland’s milk quality team is here to offer some advice.

This year has been challenging in terms of adverse weather, which for some farmers, has led to a higher SCC than in previous years. Unfortunately this can cost the farmer.

Mastitis and high SCC tells you that there are cows carrying infection with either one or more quarters in bother. Now the rain has come, more are finding that teat ends are damaged and dry allowing bacteria get in easily.

Cost of a slightly high Somatic Cell Count (SCC)

The CellCheck programme has a nice tool to calculate what SCC is costing you. This is based off of production losses due to infection in the cow, treatment costs, discarding milk to keep out treated milk, veterinary costs, diagnostic testing, culling and penalties.

The table below shows that, on a farm with 100 cows, there can be a reduction in farm profit by €8,000 - €31,000 when the SCC is higher than 100,000 SCC.

100 Cows
Annual Av SCC 100,000 – 200,000 200,000 – 300,000 300,000 – 400,000 >400,000
Reduction in farm profit €8,3226 €15,269 €18,627 €31,942

Ways to reduce SCC:

  • Milk recording to find infected cows
  • Use the CMT paddle to identify infected quarters
  • Culture these – it might not be what you think is causing infection
  • Treat the cows with the best available antibiotic based on your sensitivity results
  • Isolate and separate the cows that are infected – stop them infecting the rest of the herd.

First Published 14 August 2018

Tagged with: Dairy

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