Cell counts, milk cooling and cool new tractors – Noldy Rust

I guess for most of us farmers this year, the huge crash in forecast payout is making us look hard at our systems and justify any spending we do. I’m quietly grateful that we took the opportunity last year to get into a stronger cash position, taking advantage of the higher payout to reduce debt and also invest in overdue upgrades of our milk cooling system and buy another tractor. The icebank that runs all night on cheap power enables our milk to hit the vat a lot cooler than it used to, meaning at the end of milking the temp is now about 12 deg instead of the 18 it used to be! CAM00199This was a worthwhile investment, simple easy and efficient, meaning I don’t need to look at the daily docket with trepidation any more, especially if the tanker comes early! As for the tractor, another John Deere 2040S was purchased, identical to the one that has done us proud for the last 15 years. Only the new one has only done a paltry 7700 hours, still a long way from the 11500 hours the old one has done!! Wow, two tractors…..Now the old girl can keep the feedout wagon hooked up 24/7, while the as new one does the loader work and any topping etc. Still no cab though, much to the disgust of young Hayze!!

An ever lingering area of concern over the last few years has been our stubbornly high cell count. For a number of reasons we have been averaging around 250 000 SCC for the year. Way, way too high. We have machine checked, used dry cow and teat seal, culled what we could and always teat sprayed but not gained any ground. This year however, we got some expert advice from an external source and tweaked a few minor things in several areas. I am thrilled to say that our SCC is still in 6 figures, but only just, a huge drop from the last few years. Bernard the manager seems to think it’s his good management, but I am quick to point out to him that if he’s so good then why is it only improving in his third year on our place??? On that note, I need to mention that Bernard has been doing a fantastic job managing our farm, following on from Fraser, the first guy we employed. However, he has secured his first 50/50 job for next season, so he and his wife Jo and family will be off on the 1st of June 2015. More on this to come….



  • Hi Noldy.
    Another great blog post.
    Are you able to elaborate on the tweaks you made to slash your SSC?

    • Hi Brad,

      Thank you for checking out our website and reading the blogs!! Good to get some feedback. As for our cellcount, we have struggled for years to get it low even though we were doing all the right things. However, I finally contacted Steve Cranefield from “Puremilk”, you may have heard of “Puremilk”? He came out and watched a whole milking and did a full machine check. The 3 main things he advised us to do were..
      • Use a slightly different liner to the one we had always used. This was still a de Laval one and a round one, but slightly better fitting for our shells.
      • Change our generic teatspray we were using to Teat ex and make sure we got better coverage of the teats. Also advised us to use more glycerine over the spring months, even though teat ex has a reasonable amount in it.
      • Drop our vacuum, which was sitting at around 46 down to around 42.
      I believe that these all helped with teat condition which in turn lowered the cell count. The teats looked fine to me, as there were no obvious sores, but on close inspection of the teat ends, most of them were damaged. I guess it’s fair to say that I didn’t recognize fully what teat damage looked like. If you have an ongoing issue with high cell count, then call “Puremilk” and get Steve or Adrian Joe to come and do an assessment for you. This is money really well spent and I would definitely start with them as this is their field of expertise. Good luck, and keep in touch as to your outcome.

      Regards, Noldy

      • Thanks for the advice!
        We recently started using TeatX, it’s made such a difference to teat condition. We weren’t using enough teat spray for our 240-cow herd, so increasing the application amount has also helped.
        Our SCC is tracking lower than it was at this time last year.

  • Hi Noldy.
    Another great blog post.
    Can you elaborate on the tweaks you made to slash your SCC?


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