As in previous papers about farm comparison, the Dataset we use for these analyses and benchmark are a unique set of data from dairy farmers who all use the UNIFORM software for many years in 4 different countries. All the farmers participate in the farm comparison and send in their summary of data monthly. Anonymously these data can be used to analyze the situation in the 4 countries in this study. We are looking at a fixed group of farms in the 4 countries who join this farm comparison for minimum 3 years in a row. The data in the graphs shown are the average values in January of each year. The countries are the Netherlands (1420 farms), Belgium (299 farms), Germany (170 farms) and UK (480 farms).
In this chapter we focus in herd health. The analysis has been done in udder health indicators for dairy cows: Average somatic cellcount and % of cows with more than 250.000 SCC.
We know there are other important diseases and animal welfare indicators in a dairy farms, like lameness incidence and prevalence, or transition period diseases. But in this benchmarking we analyze udder health KPIs because these are managed as part of what is called in UNIFORM “the country link”. Therefore, all farmers have to manage and report data about udder health of the milking cows. In many places the data management and communication with national milk recording organizations and governements is directly made from the program on farm. The collected health data in this benchmarking is very accurate.
On the other hand, quality of diseases incidence and prevalence relies on the routines and bias in every farm. As a result data are more heterogenous and, therefore, not included in this farm comparison analysis.
Average Somatic Cell Count (SCC):
Somatic cell count simply measure the number of cells in the milk; the higher the somatic cell count the greater the chance that there is an infection. Uninfected cows usually have a SCC lower than 100.000/ml, and almost always have a SCC <200.000/ml. For the average SCC in bulk tank, same logic applies. In some places and farms, the threshold used to determine a healthy herd is SCC <150.000/ml.