The number of cells in a milliliter of milk is called the Somatic Cell Count (SCC). The SCC determines the quality of milk and also the health of the cow. SCC is comprised mostly of immune cells, and the rate goes up when there is a presence of an infection or illness in the cow. Mastitis is the most common offender of high SCC’s. Mastitis is when bacteria enter the udder and an infection forms, creating issues.
The higher the SCC, the less money you are likely to get for bulk milk, and sometimes penalty fees can be incurred. Higher SCC typically means a sick animal, which will produce less milk. This means less money in your pockets.
There are several ways to reduce SCC, today we are focusing on nutrition. A proper, well balanced diet ensures the herd will be getting the proper nutrients they need to boost immune systems and be strong and healthy to aid in fighting off diseases. Cattle need enough food and nutrients for energy, not only to live, or to reproduce, but to produce milk. Probiotics or prebiotics are occasionally used for improving immune response in some studies. Including Vitamins A & E, and minerals like selenium and copper are great additions to a complete and nutritious diet.
Bass, R. Tom. “Remember, Nutrition Can Impact Udder Health and SCC Too.” Progressive Dairyman
Nenov, Dr. Valentin. “How Nutrition Can be Used to Improve Health and SCC Prevention.” International Dairy Topics. Volume 16 Number 4. Print.