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How to lower your farms somatic cell count (SCC) and preserve your cow’s health?

Maintaining a low somatic cell count inside your bulk tank has always been a good dairy management strategy and a good way of preserving your cow’s health. Want to know to keep SCC low? Then check out our 5 easy tips below!

The SCC (Somatic Cell Count) is an important indicator for dairy producers. If a somatic cell count is too high, then it can lead to poor quality milk or milk that is not fit to be sold; SCC can also be used to control & measure incidences of mastitis in a herd.

While most people immediately think about mastitis prevention when addressing the high SCC problem, other aspects of dairy management, such as maintaining cow’s health should be considered first. Dairies and milkers must understand the direct relationship between these various management problems and their potential impact on SCC, milk quality, and overall herd health.

To develop a comprehensive mastitis management plan, producers must go beyond proper milking procedures, drying and lactation of cows. Many factors will affect the rate of new infections, which in turn affects somatic cell count. In this episode we list 5 uncommon tips to help you preserve health and keep SCC low.

Preserve your cow’s health with these 5 tips

Want to know how to properly preserve your herd health and lower the SCC? Check out these 5 tips! It’s only a short list, so don’t forget to check our whole Blog to find out more.

1.   Clean those dry cow pens

At calving, the cow's immune function is at its lowest level. Make a habit of kneeling on dry, fresh and calving pens. If their knees are dirty and/or wet, start cleaning more frequently and consider using more bedding.

2.    Pay attention to calving pens

When a cow is calving, its udders and reproductive tract are open to the environment. Coupled with the fact that her immune system is not working well, so she is at higher risk of udder and uterine infections. Ideally, each cow should be calved in a clean, freshly laid pen.

3.    Remove the udder hair

Long udder hair facilitates dust, water, and bacteria to accumulate on the udder. These can enter the liners during milking and cause mastitis. They may also enter the bulk milk and cause an increase in raw milk bacteria counts. So, to preserve the SCC and your cow’s health, remove the udder hair.

4.    Increase cleanliness of milking parlours

Dirty pulsators and vacuum regulators can malfunction and cause damage to the end of the teat, leading to an increase in new infection rates. Similarly, as long as liner slippage occurs, milk and any bacteria present can push the udder through the teat end.

By maintaining the highest level of cleanliness, the bacterial load in the milking parlour will be minimized. This will reduce the chance of infection during milking.

5.   Keep fresh cow milk in the bulk tank for longer

SCC is usually higher in fresh cow's milk. Withdrawing this milk from your bulk storage tank can reduce the SCC of the tank but may not be economically feasible or practical.

In addition, if there is no problem with calving, milk from fresh cows usually has a cell count of 300,000 ml or less within 5 days after calving. According to the milk production after calving, it is not economically feasible to extract milk from fresh milk after a standard 72-96 hours after calving.

These are only a small hand full of tips you can apply to help keep your cows healthy and SCC low. As you can see, proper milking procedures and managing existing infections can contribute to mastitis prevention and reduce SCC. So, put into practice everything you’ve read here to improve the quality of your dairy production and be sure to keep reading our blog to learn more! 


Date: 23 September 2020

  • Summary:
    Want to lower your SCC? Read our latest blog entry to learn 5 easy tips that will help you reduce your SCC!