A Study of Somatic Cell Counts in the Milk of Holstein-Friesian Cows Managed in Mediterranean Climatic Conditions


Abstract: Somatic cell counts (SCC) in the milk of Holstein-Friesian (HF) cows were determined by direct microscopic SCC technique. For a two-year period, milk samples were collected monthly from buckets during the morning and evening milkings at 4 different dairy farms. In total, 1,464 SCC readings from 88 HF cows were analyzed by using repeated measures. Herd, lactation month, parity, milking time, and herd interaction effects on SCC were statistically significant (P < 0.05). The average SCC in milk per herd was between 296,483 and 688,811 cells/ml. SCC in milk increased as parity increased. The average SCC in milk from evening milking was about 83,165 cells/ml higher than from morning milking. Improving milking management, reducing stress, providing extra care during the first month of lactation, and milking at a uniform interval will help to decrease SCC in milk and the prevalence of mastitis.

Keywords: Cows, Holstein-Friesian, milk, somatic cell counts

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