September 5, 2017 at 3:32 p.m.
Greg and Wendi Piller and their children Brock (19 - not pictured), Mikayla (16), Chenoa (14) and Anna (8)
What is the reason for your substantial SCC drop from 2008 to 2009? With the low milk prices we've been culling more. We've also improved the health of the herd.
What are the top five management practices that are critical to your SCC success? Explain. 1. Sand bedding in our freestall barn. This helps keep cows clean, which is essential for low SCC. The cows are comfortable and it keeps bacteria to a minimum. We couldn't achieve this low of SCC without sand bedding. We also have a hoop barn, which provides more natural light and better air quality.
2. Having people milking in the parlor who care about the cows and follow proper procedure. We have two great employees, Dean and Holly. Greg milks with one employee in the morning, and Mikayla and Chenoa milk with the other employee at night. Having the same people working with the animals keeps the cows relaxed and calm. The procedure starts by wiping sand off cows' teats then dipping with a half percent iodine dip. The cows are stripped out then dried off - especially the teat end - before the milking unit is applied. After milking, the cows are dipped again with a one percent iodine dip. We try not to treat cows for mastitis. When they do get mastitis we get them through it using oxytocin.
3. Using Orbeseal at dry off. They're out in a lot during their dry period so we want to make sure the teat ends are closed.
4. Giving oxytocin to first-calf heifers. We think using oxytocin on all the new heifers helps them jump-start in the parlor.
5. Raising good replacement heifers. Looking at the big picture, we have quality replacement heifers, which enables us to cull harder and keep the herd free of problem cows.
Why is somatic cell count important to you? Cows with lower SCC are healthier overall. We like having healthy cows. The creamery also rewards you for having lower SCC.
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