Articles of Interest
- Define the problem. Use DHIA and/or on-farm records, bulk tank SCC records, bulk tank cultures, and individual cow cultures to try and understand which cows are infected and when they are getting infected.
- Identify the troublemakers. Use bulk tank and individual cow cultures to determine what the main organisms causing elevated SCC or clinical cases. Different organisms require different solutions.
- Generate possible causes and solutions. Based on the information gathered in steps 1 and 2, generate a list of possible causes and solutions. If there are multiple causes, use a multiple-pronged approach. Decide on the most likely causes and the best solutions.
- Develop an action plan. Based on Step 3, develop an action plan
- Set up a plan to monitor progress.
One of the most important components of any plan is to set up monitors to show whether your plan is working. The use of multiple monitors (e.g., BTSCC and bulk tank culture) is often best since no monitor is perfect. Some possible monitors are:
- Bulk tank SCC graph for each milk pickup
- Monthly bulk tank culture for mastitis pathogens
- Individual cow DHI SCC
- CMT of all fresh cows
- Culture of all fresh cows with high CMT
- Culture of all new clinical cases and new sub-clinical infections (new cows over 2000,000 SCC)
- New infection rate on all cows (goal <5%)
- New infection rate on fresh cows (goal <10%)
- Rate of clinical mastitis (goal <2% month)
- Carry out the plan. Implement appropriate changes you based on facts. Be careful not to tinker with the plan unless there is strong evidence the plan is not working.
- Monitor progress and adjust the plan as needed. Review the monitors and progress monthly or more frequently to determine if the desired progress is being made. If it is, continue on the same course. If not, find out why. Is the problem the plan of action itself or failure to successfully implement the plan. Re-evaluate the action plan and/or retrain personnel. Continue to fine-tune your plan until you achieve your SCC goals. Progress can be slow depending on the causes of the high SCC or clinical mastitis problem or the plan being implemented. Once reached a low SCC will reward your farm with increased profitability and personal satisfaction.
Rocky Creek Veterinary Service has a mastitis lab to help with these issues (see our link for lab services) and we carry a full line of mastitis treatment products as well as other animal health pharmaceuticals.
Veterinary Feed Directive  (VFD)