News & Advice

Making the most of your spring herd test from a milk quality perspective?

Sep 4, 2019 | Dairy, Dairy Animal Health & Welfare, Milk Quality

Katrina Roberts, Herd Health Veterinarian, Anexa Vets

On average the bulk tank somatic cell count (BTSCC ) trend for the business looks like the graph shown

So right now you should be at your best BTSCC for the season.

If your best BTSCC is not under 150,000cells/ml then we recommend taking action now. As you can see the trend is for BTSCC to climb in late lactation. If you supply one of the milk companies that pay a premium for lower SCC milk, this alone should be a motivator for action, but even for Fonterra suppliers keeping your BTSCC below 200,000 cells/ml in late lactation gives you loads more options (OAD milking, staggered dry off for BCS and different strategies with drying off antibiotics).  

So what can you do now? 

Determining who your enemy is in your herd is the best place to start. Collecting milk samples to culture from a decent number of high SCC (subclinical) cows will give us a great picture of what is going on in your herd.

Some of the things we can find out from these milk cultures are;

  • What is your mastitis caused by; 
  • environmental bugs, 
  • contagious bugs, or 
  • some weird and nasty 
  • Where is the mastitis occurring in; 
  • young cows, 
  • old cows, 
  • or some bought animals 
  • Whether your is team doing a good job of teat spraying – if not we will soon know by the types of bugs that we grow! 

In conjunction with the milk cultures we can look at your herd test SCC data and assess whether;

  • The dry cow therapy antibiotics have achieved target cure rates, 
  • The teat sealant (if you used it) has prevented new infections during the dry period at expected rates, and 
  • Whether you are getting too many new infections in the heifers (should be the cleanest cows in the herd). 

For further advice on how you can make the most of your herd test, please talk with your Anexa Vet.

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