SCC dropped by up to 100,000 Triangular Vented liners

steve hoar dairy farmer

Asking questions and being prepared to hear the answers dropped Steve and Deanne Hore’s Somatic Cell Count (SCC) by up to 100,000 on their 1500-acre Leitchville property in north-west Victoria.

The couple, who have bred and owned the most Grand Champion Holsteins at International Dairy Week – including the 2018 Supreme Champion of All Breeds – milk 400 cows through a 44-stand rotary in a busy operation, which produces 3.3 to 3.6 million litres on a Partial Mixed Ration annually.

They conquered a concerning SCC climb in 2018 that - while not sliding them out of premium grade – was impacting on animal health, and the high achievers’ mind set.

With their SCC hovering too close to 200,000, the main problem wasn’t the numbers, but the impact on some young cows who had developed mastitis for no apparent reason.

They decided they needed some fresh perspective and asked their local vet, Clavin and Rogers, and independent consultants Dairy Focus, at Kyabram, to assess their dairy, and their own performance within that. Their 18-year-old plant was an obvious target, and they braced themselves for the financial outlay.

“They identified straight away that our cups and inflations didn’t match our cows,” Steve said.

milkrite interpuls triangular vented liners

somatic cell count results

“We’d been using those same inflations for 18 years. And, the assessment of us working in the dairy wasn’t great either, to be honest. So, we had to change things.”

They involved Daviesway’s Philip Schulz once they got the results in. After trialling several different options, they decided to switch to Milkrite mouthpiece vented triangular liners and shells, combined with a Boumatic claw. Steve and Deanne also made other management changes.

“We now cup-on five or six bails in, to allow a better milk let-down,” Steve said.

“The cows exit the dairy and go straight to the mix, whereas they used to have to stand and wait. We also changed our teat dip back to a premix teat spray, and concentrated on a better application.”

The changes cost them $30,000, and Deanne says it was worth every cent.

“You wonder, ‘what is a lot of money?’ Deanne said. “We were looking at installing ACR [Automatic Cup Removers] or changing our pulsation before the assessment, and we’ve been able to hold off on that because we’ve got results with what we’re doing”.

“It actually becomes very cheap when your SCC is consistently running at between 70,000 to 80,000 on 400 cows. When you also consider the lower stress levels, vet costs and overall herd health, it’s been a no-brainer for us.”

Steve said, in hindsight, questioning both the plant and their own performance was the right thing to do.

“It’s been back to basics a bit. But I’d encourage all farmers to question their protocols and take the time, and work through the criticisms for a better result. The flow-on effect has made a significant impact on our overall herd health.”

hoar family

 The Hore family pictured .after winning Supreme Champion at IDW 2018. (L-R) Marty, Brady, Kelsie, Steve and Deanne Hore. Photo: Bradley Cullen.