Beef Cattle - Tennessee Agricultural Enhancement Program
The level of mastitis infection in a dairy herd can have a significant impact on herd profitability. Losses due to mastitis include decreased milk production, increased treatment costs, discarded milk, premature culling, death, decreased genetic potential, decreased reproductive performance, load rejection due to violation of somatic cell counts (SCC) or antibiotic residues and loss of milk quality premiums (3, 9, 12). Most producers easily relate clinical mastitis with these losses. However, subclinical (or hidden) mastitis may actually cause more losses in a herd than clinical mastitis. Since the animal does not exhibit typical symptoms of the disease, the problem is often overlooked. A tool that producers can use to determine if subclinical mastitis is a problem in their herd is SCC. Somatic cells have long been utilized to gauge the infection status of the udder. Understanding their role in mastitis and how to use SCCs to estimate production and profit losses will allow producers to make better management decisions.
"W150-Using Milk Somatic Cell Count Information," The University of Tennessee Agricultural Extension Service, , http://trace.tennessee.edu/utk_agexani/71