Cows today are producing twice the amount of milk they did back in 1960. More amazing than the milk yield, but less talked about, is the improvement in milk quality that took place during just the last decade. Somatic cell count (SCC) has served as a convenient proxy for bulk tank milk quality. The decrease in SCC has been quite impressive over the last 12 years. While a cow’s average milk increased from 69.0 to 74.2 lbs. per day, the SCC averages have dropped from 322,000 to 200,000 cells/mL. Actual bulk tank SCC scores were even better because problem cows would be withheld from the herd pool.
SCC tests have been a popular feature of DHIA since milk labs started using infrared machines in the US in the middle 1980’s. Interest remains high because most milk buyers provide bonuses for low bulk tank SCC levels. Last year several milk buyers, including Kroger Foods, imposed tougher standards, so they could continue to export dairy products to the European Union.
Whether we like it or not, demands for clean healthy foods are here to stay. DHIA is a valuable tool to help you stay within regulations. Let us know how we can help you. We provide a wide variety of tests that offer valuable information at low cost to you. Remember that we are a nonprofit co-op owned by you the dairy farmer!