The National Mastitis Council unveiled its proposal for lowering the somatic cell count limit to 400,000 at its annual meeting held this week in Reno, Nev.

The proposal calls for a reduction in the U.S. somatic cell count standard from 750,000 cells per mL to 400,000 cells per mL by Jan. 1, 2005.

Under the proposal, the SCC would be calculated using a rolling geometric mean (RGM). Producers would be notified of their RGM on a monthly basis.

If accepted by the National Conference on Interstate Milk Shipments (NCIMS), the proposal would be implemented over a four-year period, beginning with the phase-in of monthly herd sampling beginning Jan. 1, 2002. Likewise, the proposal calls for the SCC to be lowered to 600,000 by Jan. 1, 2003, 500,000 by Jan. 1, 2004 and to the proposed 400,000 by Jan. 1, 2005.

The Council plans to submit the proposal to NCIMS this spring.