Use SCC score for sire selection

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A high correlation exists between bulls with low somatic cell scores (SCS) and their daughters’ ability to fend off mastitis, notes George Shook, University of Wisconsin professor of dairy cattle breeding. This makes it possible to select for a higher degree of resistance to subclinical and clinical mastitis.

  • When choosing sires, opt for those with SCS numbers less than 3.3 for Holsteins.
  • If you use an index, look to lifetime net merit, since it includes SCS values.
  • When comparing two bulls of similar merit, select the one with the lower SCS number.


Go to: and click on “Breeding, Selection and Somatic Cell Counts: Where Are We Today?”


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