Measuring Success

How do you measure success regarding milk quality? Check out these key  performance indicators for subclinical mastitis to see how your farm is performing.

Calculation of suggested key performance indicators for subclinical mastitis

Indicator Calculation Suggested Goal
Prevalence Number of cows with SCC > linear score 4divided by the number of cows with somatic cell counts <15% of the herd
Incidence Number of cows with SCC > linear score 4for the first time period of interestb divided by the number of cows with SCC below the threshold in the previous time period <5% if incidence is determined based on the first SCC above threshold in the lactation; up to 8% if calculated based on month to month changes in SCCb                  
Prevalence at 1st DHIA Test Number of cows with SCC > linear score 4at the 1st DHIA somatic cell counts  <5% of 1st lactation <10% of latation 2+
Prevalence at last DHIA Test before dry off Number of cows with SCC >linear score 4a at the last DHIA test before dry off of the lactation divided by the number of cows woth the last test DHIA somatic cell counts  <30% of cows with last test days before dry off

a for the purpose of herd monitoring, linear somatic cell sore of 4 is used interchangeably with somatic cell count of >200,000 cells/ml; bThe appropriate time period will vary depending the intended use of this index. Many DHIA centers & computer management programs will calculate this index based on changes between 2 months. Others may calculate it based on the SCC values available in the current lactation.

Other key performance indicators include:
• Microbial quality bulk milk
• Qualitative bulk milk cultures
• Milking systems & performance

UW-Milk Quality promotes an integrated, team-based approach to best manage udder health and milk quality.  Producing high quality milk is not a one-person job.  It takes farmers and their local dairy advisors to be able to evaluate, manage and improve milk quality.

At UW-Milk Quality, we develop tools and resources to help dairy producers meet their milk quality goals and increase farm profitability.

For more information regarding milk quality, please visit UW-Milk Quality or contact UW-Extension Milk Quality Specialist Pam Ruegg.  For more information regarding milking systems, please visit UW Milking Research and Instruction Laboratory or contact UW-Extension Milking Systems Specialist Doug Reinemann.

From: Ruegg, P.L. 2011. Managing Mastitis and Producing High Quality Milk. Chapter 18 in Dairy Cattle Production Medicine. C. Risco and P. Melendez, (editors), Wiley-Blackwell Publishing, LTD.


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