Troubleshooting a High SCC

Dr. Clell V. Bagley, D.V.M.
USU Extension Veterinarian

    A high herd Somatic Cell Count (SCC) is an indication of chronic, subclinical mastitis in the herd. It is also an indication of significant economic losses. What is considered to be a �high� SCC? Anytime the bulk tank SCC is consistently above 200,000 it indicates there may be some problem. But, especially if the SCC is consistently over 400,000, or if less than 70% of the cows are in the 0-4 linear score (LS) category (on DHI records). These levels indicate the herd is suffering moderate to serious economic losses due to reduced production and lack of premiums. These dairy herds will have difficulty competing in the market, especially in times of reduced milk prices. If your herd has a high SCC consider one of the following, or a combination of them, as the likely problem(s). Get some help from the milk processor fieldman, your veterinarian or others to identify and resolve the situation.

        Is your herd SCC high?
        Which of the items listed above (or combination of them) is the most likely contributor?
        What do you need to do to change the situation?
        Do you need help in confirming the cause of the problem, so you will put in the needed effort?
        When will you take the next step? ©