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Somatic cell count in milk of goats enrolled in Dairy Herd Improvement Program in 2007

Zhang, L., G. R. Wiggans, J. Clay, R. LaCroix, J. Z.. Wang, T. Gipson, and S. S. Zeng

Journal of Animal Science 87(E-Supplement 2):306. 2009

The effects of breed, parity, stage of lactation (month), herd size, and regions/states on somatic cell count (SCC) and production of milk from dairy goats enrolled in the Dairy Herd Improvement (DHI) program in the United States in 2007 were investigated to monitor the current status of SCC and to help goat producers improve their herd management and receive premiums for high quality goat milk. Statistical analysis of composite DHI data (n = 29,000) indicated that SCC and production of goat milk were affected by many non-infectious factors. Significant variations (P < 0.05) in SCC were found among breeds, with Toggenburg and Nubian being the highest, and Pygmy and Nigerian Dwarf being the lowest. The mean SCC of milk from Toggenburg and Nubian goats were near the current regulatory limit of 1.0106/ml for Grade A goat milk. As parities increased, SCC in milk increased steadily (P < 0.05). Significant differences (P < 0.05) in both SCC and milk production were discovered among regions. Large herds of goats tended to have higher milk production and SCC than the small herds (P < 0.05). The above findings suggest that consideration be given to culling goats with high somatic cell score (SCS) in their 5th lactation as SCS is expected to increase as they age that year-round breeding and lactation programs be practiced, if dairy goat producers in the United States are to meet the Grade A goat milk requirements. All factors that contributed to variations in SCC and production of goat milk should be taken into consideration when establishing price incentive systems for goat milk.


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