This is from a couple weeks back…
Can’t help myself, gotta toot the horn for the hubs. AgSource member meeting(s) this past week and for the second year in a row, he’s brought home the quality milk award. 87,000 for the year of 2013! So proud of him and all of our HEALTHY, hard working girls out there.
For the non-farming community, this is a measure of the presence of somatic cells (white blood cells) present in our cows’ milk. All milk contains white blood cells, but a higher count is evidence of an immune response to an infection of the mammary gland more commonly known as mastitis, which can make a cow VERY sick.
Besides the obvious benefits of having a healthy, happy udder with no angry things going on inside of it, farmers are also financially rewarded on their milk checks for having lower somatic cell counts, and on that same token, are penalized for higher counts. This is because the presence of these cells greatly affects the overall quality of the milk in facets like taste, shelf life, and usability for the making of other dairy products like yogurt and cheese.
Somatic cell count averages for U.S. herds in 2013 was right around 199,000. So, long story short, an average of 87,000 means VERY happy healthy cows and high quality milk in addition to a bigger milk check. Our milk co-op also gives out an annual milk quality award at their summer picnic- we hope to give the neighbors who have religiously won it over the years some friendly competition.