There is no doubt that today’s dairy farmers are facing uncertain times.
I think it’s always good looking forward, dairy farmers must find ways to become more efficient and productive.
The milk buyers are unpredictable to milk producers; you don’t really know where the price will be in coming months. To survive in the dairy industry, a farm must try to be above average if you want to be average or below that’s fine however there are several areas of potential improvement at the individual farm level that may help
One such area that could provide your farm a better cash flow and profit is milk quality.
Mastitis can be expensive.
On average, a case of clinical mastitis costs £250-450 more if the cow is lost
Based on figures from 2017 cases recorded were up to 40%, they were known recorded cases?
So why are treatment costs so high, labour, drugs, veterinary, discarded milk, death loss, and future milk loss.
In addition, treatment of cows with antibiotics, there is no guarantee on a cure, possibility of cross infection.
It is important to assess and review the monthly incidence of clinical mastitis on your farm.
You don’t have to have computerized records, it is still easy to keep track of.
If your monthly incidence of clinical mastitis is more than 2%, you have to sit down and look at making improvements.
Somatic Cell Counts
Bulk tank somatic cell count (BTSCC) is another area to improve the finances of your dairy.
Many dairy farmers are not making it a priority to reduce their BTSCC below the desired level or ignoring bacterial counts.
In addition to premiums, cows with high SCC are not efficient a cow with a cell count of over a million can give up to 25% less milk.
On average, cows lose about 0.5 of milk per day for every time her SCC doubles.
Clinical mastitis is no different.
Culturing clinical mastitis cases prior to treatment is the first step in to identify the area to improve
Look at days in milk at the time of clinical cases.
It comes as no revelation that when a recently fresh cow has a case of clinical or high sub clinical mastitis, her entire lactation is affected.
Look at cows with chronically high SCC.
What benefit does an extremely high cell count cow add to your herd?
Culturing these cows is also helpful.
Remember a cow with other issues (poor feet and legs, low production, etc.) may also be a high SCC cow.
Spending a fortune on treatment may not be the answer.
However you cannot simply cull your way out of a milk quality issue.
Assess parlour procedures, milking systems, cow cleanliness, treatment protocols, and housing management so when a high SCC is sold or treated, another cow doesn’t just take her place.
Milk quality is normally not related to just one obvious problem.
It is an accumulation of many small management steps.
Your investment in the herd should focus on a long term plan, not short term adjustments, thinking the problem will go away. It won’t!