Recent research reveals how Kentucky's dairies regularly keep their somatic cell counts below 250,000.
University of Kentucky-Cooperative Extension researchers recently studied why Kentucky dairy producers consistently maintain low somatic cell counts (SCCs) on their dairies.
Researchers Amanda Sterrett and Jeffrey Bewley looked at all dairy management systems used among Kentucky dairies. They surveyed 71 dairy producers with regular SCC counts below 250,000. Sterrett and Bewley used data from DHIA and four milk marketing cooperatives.
What they found shouldn’t surprise anyone: Milking clean, dry teats is crucial. Also, record management is useful for monitoring SCC levels at both the individual cow and herd levels.
“Kentucky producers who maintain low SCC prioritize cow cleanliness before cows ever enter the parlor,” the researchers noted. “In the parlor, the majority of these producers used pre-dipping, post-dipping and individual towels for drying teats, and milking gloves to minimize the spread of mastitis.”
Other preventive strategies implemented by many of the producers included dry cow treatment, mastitis vaccines, and regularly scheduled milking system maintenance checks. DHIA, PCDart, and tracking bulk tank SCC proved to be important tools for frequent SCC monitoring.