Association SCC early in first lactation and lifetime milk yield

Breeding a sustainable herd with a high average lifetime production requires proper farm Management and a variety of expertise within the farm. As presented at the FMS Symposium in 2012 ‘Cows in the cloud as key to advice’, age and weight at first calving are of great influence. Another factor influencing the sustainability and average lifetime production of the herd is an increased SCC in the first lactation, according to Irish research.

Management, T4C & InHerd, Milking

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Research

The research (J. Dairy Sci. 96:2951-2959) investigated 7,537 Irish dairy cows in 812 different herds on an association in increased SCC in heifers within 5 to 30 in their first parity, and the lifetime production and survival rate at the period of 5 years. Within the research the heifers are categorized in 4 groups based on the SCC in the first 30 days. (Figure 1) 
 
Figure 1

Outcomes

One of the outcomes we can extract from the study is that the lifetime production increased from 18.900 kg at a SCC of >400.000 to 23.800 kg at a SCC of < 55.000. Or in other words the lower the SCC direct after first calving the greater the impact on the lifetime milk yield. Another issue to keep in mind is the economic influence of a too high SCC direct after first calving. Lifetime milk yield will drop and costs will increase. This is confirmed by the simulation model on the economic impact used by the researchers. For detailed info, please check the full research.

Summary

This study demonstrated that for cows in Irish dairy herds, a too high SCC between 5 and 30 DIM during parity 1 was negatively associated with lifetime milk yield. A too high SCC direct after the first calving can be seen as an indication that (management) actions are required. Following actions can be considered:
•    Prepare the heifers for calving by means of a well-balanced ration, ensure correct weight at calving.
•    Reduce stress to a minimum prior, during and directly after calving.
•    Ensure maximum hygiene and comfort prior, during and directly after calving.
•    Closely monitor the udder health and weight of the fresh calved heifers via T4C.
•    When there is any (udder health) attention (report 12), act directly.

References:
S. C. Archer , F. Mc Coy , W. Wapenaar and M. J. Green. 2013. Association between somatic cell count early in the first lactation and the lifetime milk yield of cows in Irish dairy herds. J. Dairy Sci. 96 :2951–2959.
S. C. Archer , F. Mc Coy , W. Wapenaar and M. J. Green. 2013. Association between somatic cell count early in the first lactation and the longevity of Irish dairy cows. J. Dairy Sci. 96 :2939–2950
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