September 5, 2017 at 3:32 p.m.
How much has your SCC dropped? When we started in 2009 it was averaging around 350,000 and in 2011 we were at 126,000.
Why is it important for you to lower your somatic cell count? We want to know we are providing a quality product, and it was also a personal goal.
What are three changes you've made that assisted you in achieving a lower SCC? Always keeping the cow stalls clean and dry, using the CMT at any signs of anything and quarter milking at the first sign of infection.
Do you have any advice for someone who is trying to lower their SCC? Everyone is different, but for my success it was paying attention to DHIA reports. We also became really fussy when the cell count went above 150,000 - that was no longer acceptable to me. We also went to a vented triangle inflation. It slowed up milking a little bit, but it's so much more gentle on the teat ends and I felt that was important.
What type of barn do you have and what kind of bedding do you use? We rent a 72-cow tiestall tunnel ventilated barn with cow mats. Even though we have the mats I still like to have a lot of bedding under them. They love it and it keeps them dry. I bed eight to 10 small squares of wheat straw everyday using a bedding chopper.
If a cow comes down with mastitis, how do your treat her? I always have a digital thermometer in my pocket. It's handy for other symptoms a cow may have. I check her temp and usually if it's just a slight clinical mastitis there will be no temp. I will quarter milk her and strip the quarter dry at the end of the milking. If she still has it the next milking I will start her on Today tubes and continue until she is good in the CMT paddle. If the cow has a high temp and toxic mastitis I will give her a stomach pump of some electrolytes and an extra five gallons of water in the pump, too. It's amazing how much a case of toxic mastitis affects them, but that seems to work very well for us anyway. But I'm no expert.
What does your milking procedure consist of? We dry wipe each cow with a paper towel, strip out five squirts of milk per teat and then attach the unit in 60 to 90 seconds. We do not pull down on the units. We take the unit off as soon as she is done and post dip with a one percent iodine.
Do you use a quarter milker or bucket? At what point do you use this tool? Yes, at first sign of abnormal milk or mastitis.
At what point do you stop treating cows and ship them? I'm not very good at that. If she repeats, I will culture her and if it comes back Staph I will make the decision then to sell the cow.
What type of analysis do you use to monitor milk quality? I check our SCC almost daily online. That's the best way to get updates every day.
How often do you check over your milking equipment? I'm on full route service and he looks over equipment and checks the vacuum every month.
What does your milking equipment cleaning process consist of? We wash the units after every milking and run a detergent wash cycle followed by acid wash.
Where do you raise your heifers and what type of bedding do you use? The calves are raised in huts and we have them on leashes with dog collars so they can go outside. We use straw bedding. We also bed outside the hutch so they are surrounded by bedding and have a shade over the top of them. They do very well and love it. They spend most of their time outside unless there's bad weather. All other ages of heifers are in open front sheds bedded with straw.
Tell us about your farm. We rent a dairy facility from Brad Strelow and purchase our forages from Fritz Didier. Both have been great people to work with. We live seven miles from the farm in Osakis. My wife, Michelle, works off the farm as an LPN and helps out at night along with our two girls, Brooke (7) and Reece (5).[[In-content Ad]]
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