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July 2017

Less Mastitis = More Profit….for all!

One of the key CellCheck messages to be presented at the upcoming Teagasc Moorepark Open Day, will be about the increased profitability that improving mastitis control and milk quality brings. Recent Teagasc analysis of the national bulk tank somatic cell count (SCC) database shows the magnitude of this financial return for the whole industry. The national bulk tank SCC database captures volume and SCC information for almost 95% of the milk supplied in Ireland, and currently contains three consecutive years of data, 2013-2015 (Fig 1). In 2015, 64% of milk supplied had an SCC <200,000 cells/mL. Looking in closer detail at the SCC distribution of all milk supplied in 2015, economic analysis shows that it was worth an extra €38 million to the dairy industry in increased milk value, when compared to the SCC distribution in 2013. 

This extra milk value yielded gains of 3:1 to farmers and processors i.e. €27m to farmers and €11m to processors. 

The increased value to farmers is mainly due to increased yields as a result of lower SCC. The financial benefits of a lower SCC should not be underestimated. For example, at a milk price of 30c/L if a 100-cow herd reduces its SCC from 350,000 cells/mL to 250,000 cells/mL, the farm would generate almost €4,000 extra profit. An additional €8,200 extra profit could be gained if the reduction was from 250,000 cells/mL to 150,000 cells/mL. 

To see how much more profit you could earn with a lower herd SCC, use the CostCheck interactive calculator. CostCheck allows you to estimate the potential increase in profit from reducing the incidence of mastitis (both clinical cases and cows with high SCC) on your dairy farm, using your own data. The CostCheck calculator can be downloaded from the Animal Health Ireland website ( or the Teagasc website (