USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspections Service released its annual report of U.S. somatic cell counts today, showing that SCCs averaged 193,000 cells/mL in 2014 in the four Federal Orders that collect SCC data.
The average SCC level remains unchanged for the past three years, but has declined from 227,000 cells/ml in 2009. “Over 99% of milk shipments monitored met the current Pasteurized Milk Ordinance limit of 750,000 cells/mL,” say APHIS investigators.
And based on European Union criteria for its health certification program, less than 3% of milk shipments would not have met the 400,000 cell/mL requirement for export.
The four Federal Orders included in the report: Upper Midwest, Central, Mideast and Southwest. These four orders produce 48% of the nation’s milk supply.
The Mideast Order had the lowest average cell count, at 179,000 cells/mL. Cell counts in the Southwest Federal Order, where many cattle are housed in open lots and subject to weather extremes, have shown the greatest variation in milk quality over the past five years.
The complete report can be read here.