Somatic Cell Count: Costs and Opportunities

Increased Somatic Cell count (SCC) can be costly. Not only can these elevated counts decrease milk yield, they can also lower your milk premium. Working with a Dairy One Farm Service Technician can help you track individual SCC and tank contributions as well as identify the financial costs and opportunities surrounding SCC.

These financial opportunities are found in two places: the amount of milk you are selling and the quality premium.

Let’s look at an example. A 50-cow dairy has a milk price of $19/ cwt. Working with a Dairy One Farm Service Technician, SCC has been lowered from 350,00 to 200,000. The herd now averages 70 pounds of milk per day per cow and receives a milk quality premium of $.30/ cwt.

Using the Dairy One Quick Reference for Milk Lost by Higher SCC, we can see that by dropping the SCC from the 283-565,000 range to the 142-282,000 range the milk lost per cow per day has decreased from 4.5 to 3.0 pounds. In turn, this lowers the amount of money lost through that decreased production from $1,283 to $855 per month*. That’s $428 back in your pocket. Looking at the Quick Reference for Various Milk Quality Payments, we can see that the new milk premium of $.30 for a herd averaging 70 pounds of milk per cow per day puts another $315 in your pocket each month*. In total, that’s $743 of value added back to you, the producer, each month. Subtract the cost of Dairy One services and we still see a net added value of well over $500.

That all sounds great! But how will my Dairy One Farm Service Technician help to lower SCC? At Dairy One we strive to help you measure to better manage. Your Dairy One Farm Service Technician can provide you with individual SCC as well as the percentage of milk yield and SCC tank contribution. Furthermore, your Dairy One Farm Service Technician can provide you with records that allow you to track chronic high SCC offenders. It should be noted that SCC data is processed by the lab and cannot not be reported by the technician on test day. However, it is a great topic to discuss with your technician on their next visit. Even producers currently using software to track these metrics will find comfort in the reconciliation of their own records with the records kept by Dairy One Farm Service Technicians. Herds already using software can download test results directly. Herds on process not using software will still have access to results via regular reports.

If you have any questions about how Dairy One Farm Service Technicians can help you and your herd, or any of the other services offered by Dairy One, contact us!

*per 50 cows