Battling high SCC – Trent Guy

Unfortunately after my little Christmas getaway I came back to a rapidly rising SCC and after stripping the herd and pulling 8 clinical mastitis cows out we still saw little change in the bulk SCC.

So we needed a plan. We talked to our local vets (Kamo Vets) and we decided do a machine check, bring our next herd test forward and then look at the high SCC cows. The plan was implemented and LIC was called to see if it could be done ASAP. Fortunately they could do one in 3 days’ time, which luckily for me happened to be when my father was coming to visit……yeah, free labour! A machine check was done revealing that the shed was running perfectly!

So the three days rocked around very quickly and we got the herd test out of the way. Then the waiting game!

So we got the results and they weren’t that flash – there were 30 cows in the millionaires club… not a club that we want to have cows in. We then decided to pull the top 60 cows out on SCC and run them as a separate herd, thus hopefully reducing any spread to otherwise healthy cows and to monitor the 60 cows and take further action as needed.

The other plan was to scan the herd and then look at biffing out any high SCC empties while the works price is still up. We have six on that list so far and we have managed to get the SCC down to the high 200s, so still a lot of progress to be made. I also think heat stress may be having a big influence on our SCC!

The difference between our irrigated and non-irrigated land.

The difference between our irrigated and non-irrigated land.

Cow selection for milking through

So our plans are: to milk as many empty and late calving cows as possible through the winter to maximise the assets we have, reduce the wastage of good cows and, most of all, to create good cash flow.

We did our first scan on the 15th January and from the 280 cows in milk we have 45 rechecks. Hopefully at least 10 of those are just late calvers, so now we are starting to look at the criteria for what to keep.cu

Most people would look at age, SCC, production, udder and feet, but for me it’s a little different. First of all we look at SCC and production, then udder and feet, and then we only look at age if we have too many to milk through. I can’t see the point in cutting the head off an old cow if she has a low SCC, is producing well and has a good udder and feet – and she can always be culled in the spring after putting $$ in the bank all winter!

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