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Somatic Cell Count (SCC)

Last Updated: May 23, 2012

Somatic cells are white blood cells and epithelial cells commonly found at low levels in milk. When a pathogen is present in the udder, the body produces high numbers of white blood cells to combat the infection. High levels of these cells in milk indicate abnormal, reduced-quality milk that is caused by an intramammary bacterial infection (mastitis). High SCC levels decrease yields, quality and the safety of cheese and other dairy products.

Useful tools and links to help manage SCC levels on your farm:

Identify The Cows Contributing The Most To Your SCC Levels:

1. Find out more about the causes of mastitis and high SCC levels:

2. DHI Individual Cow SCC Reporting

3. California Mastitis Test

Using a CMT to Detect Subclinical Mastitis


Udder Health Information

1. Other Udder Health Links

2. Impact of SCCs on Herd Production

Somatic Cell Counts as they relate to screening tests and estimated milk losses.
(Taken from NMC's LaboratoryHandbook on Bovine Mastitis)

CMT
Score
SCC
Milk Loss %
Estimated Milk Production Loss per cow/year (lb)
Negative
100,000
3
400
200,000
6
800
Trace
300,000
7
1,000
400,000
8
1,200
500,000
9
1,300
1
600,000
10
1,400
700,000
10
1,500
800,000
11
1,600
900,000
11
1,650
1,000,000
12
1,700
2
1,200,000
>12
>1,700

Evaluate your farm using this Somatic Cell Count Report form (10 KB PDF)

 

(All PDF's on this page require Adobe Acrobat Reader)
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