If you make just one New Year’s resolution, make it milk recording! Don’t think of milk recording as a luxury that you can’t afford this year…… you can’t afford not to!

That’s CellCheck’s key message to dairy farmers heading into the New Year.

It says that milk recording is the best tool you have to establish which cows are the most productive in terms of fat, protein and milk yields, and ‘paying their way’.

CellCheck says it also allows you to react quickly to cows with elevated SCC – these may have no visible signs of infection, but they will spread infection within your herd and raise your bulk tank SCC. Cows with a high SCC are losing you money.

Regular milk recording will give much better information, it says, than ad hoc individual cow testing, and doing it monthly gives you even more bang for your buck.

Key tips

1. Start early – do you milk record in the first month of lactation? If not, start this spring. The CellCheck Farm Summary Report will measure how effective your dry cow treatment has been, if your cows have a milk recording within 60 days of calving. It will also highlight if new infections during the dry period are an issue.

2. Early lactation mastitis is a high risk. An early milk recording will give you an indication of which cows need prompt attention.

3. Heifers – recent research has highlighted that high SCC in heifers may be more prevalent than you think. An early milk recording will identify those that need careful attention.

CellCheck says over 6,500 Irish herds are now milk recording, generating invaluable data for almost 600,000 cows.