If you make just one New Year’s resolution, make it monthly milk recording.

This is according to Animal Health Ireland in its latest CellCheck tip.

More than 6,000 herds now milk record, generating invaluable data for 550,000 cows, it said.

The animal health body outlined: “Regular milk recording will give much better information than ad-hoc individual cow testing, and doing it monthly gives you even more bang for your buck. It 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.”

According to its experts, start your milk recordings early.

“Do you milk record in the first month of lactation? If not, start this spring. With the new CellCheck Farm Summary Report, milk recording your cows within 60 days of calving will measure how effective your dry cow treatment has been. It will also highlight if new infections during the dry period is an issue.”

It also found that early lactation mastitis is a high risk. “An early milk recording will give you an indication of any cows which need prompt attention,” it said.

In terms of heifers, Animal Health Ireland said recent research has highlighted that high SCC in heifers may be more prevalent than you think.

“An early milk recording will identify any of these that need careful attention. It will also identify high performing animals straight away.”

In addition, it said it costs less than you might think. “At approximately €2.10 /cow/milk recording, 9 milk recordings represents an investment of €18.90, equivalent to 63 litres of milk at €0.30 per litre.”

Further information on milk recording is available in Guideline 23 of the CellCheck Farm Guidelines for Mastitis Control here.