On‐farm Somatic Cell Count and Ketone tests available

Oct 6, 2021 | News

Dairy producers now have access to three on‐farm diagnostic tests to help facilitate the management of somatic cell count (SCC) and ketosis in their herds. The PortaSCC® Quick, PortaBHB™ milk‐ketone, and BHBCheck™ Plus blood‐ketone tests are affordable, rapid, easy to use on farms, and are now available through a local CentralStar team‐member.

“We are committed to providing tools and services that help producers be more profitable,” shared Phil Dieter, CentralStar Chief Executive Officer. “To help meet this goal, CentralStar routinely invests in research and development to create novel test options, while sourcing existing technologies that can help producers develop and manage long‐lasting, healthy herds. Expanding our offerings to include these on‐ farm tests will help producers more effectively monitor and manage SCC and ketosis.”

Mastitis and ketosis are among the most common health challenges dairy cattle face. While the incidence of mastitis outpaces ketosis, both have significant impact on cow health and profitability. Research shows a single case of mastitis costs between $155 ‐ $244, while the cost of one case of ketosis ranges between $117 ‐ $289. Along with Dairy Herd Information (DHI) SCC analysis, Mastitis PCR testing, and electronic herd‐health monitoring, implementing on‐farm testing for mastitis and ketosis gives producers more options in managing and monitoring critical health challenges that are known to have a significant impact on cow health and profitability.

The PortaSCC® Quick is a 5‐minute test that can be used for quarter or composite fresh‐milk samples. The test screens for subclinical mastitis by detecting SCC at levels much lower than the California Mastitis Test. “The PortaSCC is a versatile test that complements existing management practices,” said Michelle Kaufmann, CentralStar Customer Solutions Advisor. “Producers who utilize DHI have the advantage of easily identifying cows with high SCC values, and as a result, often elect to hold that cow’s milk from the bulk tank while implementing management actions to reduce infection. The SCC test can be used throughout treatment to identify when a cow’s SCC levels are below threshold, allowing milk to be added back to the bulk tank faster.”

A common fresh‐cow ailment, ketosis, is known to contribute to reduced fertility, decreased production, and the increased likelihood of a displaced abomasum. While electronic herd‐health‐monitoring systems, like CowManager, help predict the early signs of health challenges, not all farms use such technology, making on‐farm testing a viable alternative. Blood Beta‐hydroxybutyric Acid (BHB or BHBA) testing is the gold standard for subclinical‐ketosis detection. The BHBCheck Plus blood‐ketone test requires just one drop of blood for reading and provides rapid quantitative results. The PortaBHB milk test is a convenient dipstick test. Both provide rapid results, allowing for quick management decisions.

Working with dairy and beef producers for 80 years, CentralStar began providing laboratory services to the dairy industry in 1999 through DHI milk analysis. Since that time, CentralStar’s investment in research has introduced a series of novel diagnostic tests for Johne’s, bovine viral diarrhea, bovine leukosis virus, neospora, mastitis, and pregnancy. The addition of on‐farm testing options further meets producer needs for effective and efficient herd management.

CentralStar Cooperative Inc. was established May 1, 2019, as a result of the merger between NorthStar Cooperative Inc. and East Central/Select Sires. The cooperative’s goal of enhancing producer profitability through integrated services is fulfilled by incorporating an array of products and services critical to dairy‐ and beef‐farm prosperity. CentralStar’s product and service offerings include Accelerated Genetics, GenerVations and Select Sires genetics; extensive artificial‐insemination (A.I.) service; genetic, reproduction, and dairy records consultation; DHI services; diagnostic testing; herd‐management products; research and development; and more. CentralStar’s administration and warehouse facilities are in Lansing, Mich., and Waupun, Wis., with laboratories in Grand Ledge, Mich., and Kaukauna, Wis. For more information, visit CentralStar Cooperative Inc. at www.mycentralstar.com.