The Somatic Cell Count
and Milk Quality
While choosing superior quality wholesome milk, we usually consider the factors like fat level, adulteration and antibiotic free and freshness of the milk. However, we do not pay much attention to the Somatic Cell Count or SCC which is considered as a main indicator of milk quality, internationally.
What are Somatic Cells
Somatic Cells are mainly white blood cells or leucocytes that are part of the immune system of the cows and some epithelial cells from the udder. Generally, somatic cells are present in low quantities in the milk. These cells are produced by the cow’s immune system as a response to pathogens and they help in fighting those pathogens. The number of somatic cells in the milk or SCC increases due to bacterial infection of the mammary gland which results in the inflammation of the udder, a condition generally termed as mastitis. Unhygienic farm practices, inadequate nutrition and stressful environment are the triggers of mastitis and increased SCC.
Safe SCC Count
Somatic Cell Count or SCC is calculated as the total number of somatic cells per millilitre in milk. Milk with an SCC of more than 400,000 is deemed unfit for human consumption by the European Union. Essentially, a lower SCC indicates better animal health, as somatic cells originate only from inside the animal's udder.
Why is it Important
to Monitor SCC?
The SCC monitoring is important because as the number of somatic cells increases, milk quality deteriorates. Somatic cells contain enzymes, which degrade fats and proteins, from the milk. An increase in somatic cell count increases the amount of destructive enzymes present in the milk, which increases the rate of deterioration of the milk fat and protein. During mastitis, milk yield also falls as the toxins from the pathogen damages the milk producing tissues. Moreover, mastitis is contagious and spreads to other cows in the herd while milking without proper care and hygienic practices.
How to Control Mastitis
and Somatic Cell Count
Controlling mastitis is a long-term strategy that involves minimising the bacteria that enter the udder plus reducing the growth of bacteria in the udder. With professional farm management strictly following hygienic practices and improving the sanitisation, one can check the spread of mastitis. Special emphasis must be laid up on keeping the udder clean and free from mastitis causing bacteria.
At Lacto Queen our cows regularly undergo health checks with periodic vaccines and deworming schedules. We perform California Mastitis Test (CMT) every 3rd day to prevent Mastitis in our herd. If any cow is found sick, that cow and its Milk will be isolated and treated in a separate area. Further, our barns are as per international standards and hygienically managed to provide maximum comfort to the herd.
Improve Immunity &
A balanced diet with proper amounts of minerals and vitamins improves the ability of a cow to ward off bacterial challenges. Inadequate energy and nutrient deficiencies could lead to poor immunity. When immunity is weak dairy cows exposed to environmental pathogens develop mastitis thus increasing the SCC level. At our farms, the cows are fed with a healthy balanced diet and are provided with clean drinking water. With advanced milking parlour, the Lacto Queen milk is completely untouched, significantly improving the hygienic standards and lowering the SCC.
Lower the SCC,
Healthier the Milk
The Lacto Queen milk is not only anti-biotic and adulterant free, farm fresh and with optimum levels of fat, it is low in SCC content as well. Thus, what you get is world class quality, wholesome milk rich in nutrients delivered fresh to your doorstep.