I recently examined lactation records of more than 164,000 Holstein cows on 22 diaries. I was looking for the presence of high first-test somatic cell count (SCC) or a recorded clinical mastitis case in the first 60 days in lactation. In the study, cows with an SCC greater than 200,000 cells/mL at the first DHI test were classified as subclinical mastitis infections.1
Subclinical infections, real consequences
The implication of high first-test SCC are real and expensive.
These implications include:
According to this study, losses attributed to high first-test SCC consisted of the following:
Keep High-SCC cows in check
Monitoring individual cow SCC through monthly DHI testing is an important tool for tracking early lactation udder health.
Consider these steps:
Work with your veterinarian to properly manage and identify high-SCC cows in your herd.
1 Kirkpatrick MA, Olson JD. Somatic Cell Counts at First Test: More than a Number, in Proceedings. NMC Annu Meet 2015;53-56.
2 Hertl JA, Schukken YH, Bar D, et al. The effect of recurrent episodes of clinical mastitis caused by gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria and other organisms on mortality and culling in Holstein dairy cows. J Dairy Sci 2011;94(10):4863-4877.
3 Chebel R. Mastitis effects on reproduction, in Proceedings. NMC Regional Meeting 2007;43-55.
4 Hertl JA, Gröhn YT, Leach JD, et al. Effects of clinical mastitis caused by gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria and other organisms on the probability of conception in New York State Holstein dairy cows. J Dairy Sci 2010;93(4):1551-1560.
5 Hertl JA, Schukken YH, Welcome FL, Tauer LW, Gröhn YT. Effects of pathogen-specific clinical mastitis on probability of conception in Holstein dairy cows. J Dairy Sci 2014;97(11):6942-6954.
6 Lavon Y, Ezra E, Leitner G, Wolfenson D. Association of conception rate with pattern and level of somatic cell count elevation relative to time of insemination in dairy cows. J Dairy Sci 2011;94(9):4538-4545.