With 125 data points gathered at every milking, it may be hard to pick a favorite and say which is the most valuable to have. Luckily, we don’t have to pick just one parameter to look at thanks to the Health Report. Having said that, we do have one optional tool that I wouldn’t want to live without if I was milking with robots. That tool is the MQC-C2, or less formally known as the Somatic Cell Reader.
With the option becoming available to add-on to the robots in recent years, we are seeing more and more of our existing customers and new customers elect to include this tool into their robotic management. The SCC Reader is a live cell reader. It uses a reagent that gets mixed with a sample of milk from the milk jar. It then measures the viscosity of the sample to determine Somatic Cell Count, similar to a California Mastitis Test. The number that the producer sees on T4C is the average of 16 small samples taken from the milk jar after a milking. It’s important to note that this is an indication of Somatic Cell for a particular cow at an individual milking, and therefore is not comparable to a bulk tank sample that a lab would run diagnostics on.
Lely has developed a Smart Sampling technique to help keep costs low while benefiting from this management tool. The Smart Sampling setting only samples cow’s milk every third milking. If she has an attention for Somatic Cell Count, she will be sampled every milking. The cost of is only $.03/ sample.
Now, let’s talk about reports. Above you will see Report 23: Udder Health Analyze. If you don’t currently have the MQC-C2, this report looks a little different on your T4C. When you install the SCC Reader, you gain the columns labeled “SCC Indication”, “Percentage High Cell Count”, and “Impact of Cell Count on Herd”. The SCC Indication column tells you the geometric mean of the cow’s last three milkings, in 100,000s. The column labeled Percentage High Cell Count tells you how many sampled milkings over the last 14 days had high cell counts. Lastly, my favorite column: Impact of Cell Count on Herd. This tells you what percentage of the tank that cow is impacting. A low producing cow with a high cell count is going to do far less damage to your herd average than a high producing cow with mediocre cell count, and this column helps you figure that out to better manage with.
Another benefit of the SCC Reader shows up on Report 16: Herd Overview. This allows you to see the herds average Somatic Cell Count of sampled milk from each day.
The MQC-C2 reader is a valuable tool that has a direct impact on your farm’s profitability. It will allow you to make faster treatment decisions, make better use of waste milk, and to venture into the world of selective dry off antiobiotics. I highly recommend this tool to new and existing robot users. For more information on the MQC-C2 contact Amos Fisher at 717-826-2679.