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High BMSCC

A high bulk milk somatic cell count (SCC) indicates a high level of mastitis (usually subclinical) in the herd.

Why is this important?

  • A high bulk milk somatic cell count (SCC) indicates a high level of mastitis (usually subclinical) in the herd
  • About 15% of cows have (subclinical) mastitis for every 100,000 cells/ml
  • Sharp rises often indicate missed clinical cases
  • Impact of mastitis on SCC is more pronounced when fewer cows in milk e.g. at the start or end of season.

You have a problem with SCC if you have:  

  • SCC grades
  • SCC alerts or warnings
  • Spikes in SCC (+50,000 cells/ml)
  • Upward trend in SCC steeper than target curve - see Guideline 11.1
  • SCC above industry average - see Industry Benchmarks.

Your options include:

  • Work out value of reducing SCC, see the SmartSAMM Gap Calculator.
  • Strip herd to find missed clinicals. See:
  • Find high SCC cows with RMT.  These should be more closely inspected for clinical signs, or excluded from the vat. See:
  • Healthy Udder - Find 2 for using an RMT (Rapid Mastitis Test).
  • Arrange emergency herd test.  Find high SCC cows and check for clinical signs.  Can also exclude from vat or dry off quarter/cow early.
  • Get help - a second pair of eyes (vet, milk quality advisor) can help spot problems with your system to prevent mastitis. Go to:
    • Accredited vets
    • Your dairy company milk quality advisors
    • Milk quality consultants: AsureQuality and QCONZ.