Saturday, May 30, 2009

Somatic Cell Count is Worth $s

Since January 2000, the Southwest Federal Milk Order (FMMO) has reduced their average Somatic Cell Count (SCC) by approximately 100,000 cells/ml. What is this worth? At today's very low cheese prices, that is still worth $.06/cwt of milk. When Cheese was at its highest, it would have been worth twice that.

Only four of the six FMMOs paying on components also pay a premium for low SCC. Those that do not, the Northeast and the Pacific Northwest, have the lowest percentage of their milk going to Class III Cheese production.

The March 31 post discussed how SCC premium payment is directly linked to the price for cheese. That formula is;

SCC pricing adjustment = monthly price for cheese x .0005,

which provides the basis for the "adjustment" per cwt of milk.

The "adjustment" for SCC centers around 350,000 cells/ml. A count under that receives a premium. A count over that receives a penalty. A dairy with 1000 cows averaging 20,000 lbs of milk annually would, at today's pricing, have premium income of $13,000 annually with a SCC averaging 250,000, 100,000 under the 350,000 guideline level. In 2008, this may not have seemed like a lot of money, but in today's tough economic environment, it suddenly seems huge.

How have the four FMMOs that pay a premium done on reducing SCC? - actually, very good. Shown below are the graphs of SCC for the four FMMO paying a premium for low SCC.

In today's tough market, the smaller components of the pay check take on more importance. Proper diet and sanitation do have value in many ways.

How much lower can SCC go?

The peaks occur consistently in the hot summer month of July and August. Emphasis, and perhaps different procedures, during the summer months could pay off.

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