Dairy is highly data-driven, and Illinois’ land-grant university is giving you the tools to gather even more. The right numbers can give you premium pricing within a milk cooperative and help you make the right management decisions for your herd. The new Dairy Focus Somatic Cell Count Calculator is a free downloadable program that can analyze test day milk numbers and allows producers to take appropriate action regarding somatic cell count. The team from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign developed the calculator as a way of determining how much monetary loss is incurred by not receiving a milk quality bonus.
“The Dairy Focus Somatic Cell Count Calculator allows producers to identify cows in the herd that are contributing the highest percentage to the bulk tank SCC,” the researchers said. “Also, the calculator identifies cows that have chronic or new cases of mastitis by sorting cows by highest current and previous test day SCC. Not only is the user able to find problem cows, but they are also able to see the benefits that would result from removing certain cows from the herd by viewing the Economic Gains table. This key aspect of the calculator allows the user to view the differences between bulk tank values with and without high SCC cows.”
Of course, herd health and maximum efficiencies are at the forefront of those in the dairy industry. The Illinois researchers noted that the U.S dairy industry misses out roughly $1 billion in total milk revenue and about $110 per cow annually from production losses due to mastitis. The hope is that this calculator can curb some of that loss.
There are currently versions of the Dairy Focus Somatic Cell Count Calculator available for DairyComp 305 and PCDart, as well as a version for dairy producers who prefer to enter their data manually. Users can visit www.dairyfocus.illinois.edu and click on the “Tools” page, where they will find a link to download the calculator. The instructional video below shows users how to import data from their management program, while giving the user beneficial information on how to use the calculator to analyze their herd and assist in making critical management decisions.