If you thought “looking for a needle in a haystack” was difficult, try looking for something you can’t even see. That’s how many producers feel about subclinical mastitis.
Lactating animals with subclinical mastitis show no clinical signs or visible changes in the milk, but they do have somatic cell counts greater than 200,000, and that can be a valuable clue.
Use these five steps to detect subclinical mastitis in your herd.
Individual cow results for somatic cell count are available through Dairy Herd Improvement test-day data. If you are not currently on
Or, you could go on
The cost of
2. Analyze the data
Once you have
DHIA also offers a report called the “udder health management summary” that details many of the groups discussed here.
3. Examine first test-day data
Rhoda takes this one step further by looking at first-calf heifers and cows separately. This, he says, will help you pinpoint where infections are occurring.
4. Look for new infections
“Newly infected animals” are those that had a low
5. Find chronically infected cows
Cows that have a
Once you have identified animals in the target groups, you can develop an action plan for each cow. To learn how, please see “Reduce subclinical mastitis cow by cow,” on page 27.
You also can use the records to find sources of infection and develop prevention plans.