Somatic Cell Counts Fall to Lowest Levels Ever in Upper Midwest

Somatic Cell Counts Fall to Lowest Levels Ever in Upper Midwest

A report by the Upper Midwest Federal Milk Marketing Order shows that somatic cell counts (SCCs) in the Upper Midwest have fallen to 182,000 cell/mL on a weighted volume basis, the lowest level ever. The report is based on data for 2018.

The report looks back at SCC data to 2006, and shows that SCCs have been falling fairly consistently over these 13 years. In 2006, SCCs averaged 280,000 cells/mL.

Small herds are still reporting the highest SCCs. Those herds shipping up to 50,000 lb  of milk per month average an SCC of 294,000 cells/mL while herds that ship more than 5 million lb of milk per month average 158,000 cells/mL. The report does not go into reasons why this is, but it’s likely a combination of both a dilution effect and tighter milking routine protocols in large herds.

“The simple average SCC of 240,000 was higher than the weighted average of 182,000, indicating that larger producers on average tended to have lower SCC than their smaller counterparts,” says Corey Freije, a Federal Order economist who authored the report. “Moreover, the median SCC level of 162,000 was also lower than the simple average, indicating that the distribution of SCC levels for the market was skewed toward higher levels.”

Freije also notes that seasonal SCC highs since 2015 are now below the seasonal low for 2008.

Wisconsin reports the lowest state average, at 175,000 cells/mL, of the seven states or portions of states represented in the Upper Midwest Order. North Dakota and Illinois still have state averages above 200,000 cells/mL, at 209,000 and 208,000 cells/ml, respectively.

For the complete report, click here.–19-02.pdf

Jim Dickrell
Wed, 08/28/2019 – 09:39


Milk Quality
Federal Milk Marketing Orders
Herd Health
Dairy (General)


Milk Quality
Herd Health

News Article

Image Caption
Seasonal SCC highs since 2015 are now below the seasonal low for 2008.

Image Credit
Farm Journal, Inc.
Source: Dairy Herd