Report Summarizes Bulk Tank Somatic Cell Count Data in 2009

Milk quality in the U.S. is monitored by USDA in conjunction with NMC

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service's Centers for Epidemiology and Animal Health (CEAH), in conjunction with the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) and the National Mastitis Council (NMC) Milk Quality Monitoring Committee, determines milk quality in the U.S. using bulk tank somatic cell count (BTSCC) data provided by four of the nation's 10 Federal Milk Marketing Orders (FMOs).

In 2009, four FMOs were monitored: Central, Mideast, Southwest and Upper Midwest. These FMOs monitored milk from 32,854 producers located in 34 states and accounted for nearly half of the nation's milk supply.

2009 Bulk Tank SCC Data

The milk-weighted geometric BTSCC mean was 227,000 cells/ml in 2009. The milk-weighted BTSCC takes into account the amount of milk shipped by a producer, resulting in an overall BTSCC mean of monitored milk.

In comparison, the milk-weighted geometric BTSCC was 247,000 in 2008, 260,000 in 2007; 249,000 in 2006; 258,000 in 2005; and 263,000 in 2004..

The producer shipment BTSCC was 277,000 in 2009. The producer shipment BTSCC is a geometric, nonmilk-weighted mean of all shipments (i.e. all shipments have equal weight)

In comparison, the producer shipment BTSCC was 294,000 in 2008, 298,000 in 2007; 293,000 in both 2006 and 2005; and 296,000 in 2004.

Figure from USDA APHIS infosheet July 2010

750,000 vs 400,000
More than 99% of the milk and 98% of the shipments monitored in these FMOs during 2009 met the current Pasteurized Milk Ordinance SCC federal regulatory limit of 750,000. Of the 32,854 producers, 90.5% shipped milk with BTSCC below 750,000 during all of the months monitored.

In 2009, during all months monitored, 89% of the milk would have met a goal of less than 400,000 BTSCC, which is the current European Union SCC limit; but only 50% of the producers shipped milk with BTSCCs less than 400,000 during all monitored months.

Seasonal Trends
Monthly monitoring continues to show that BTSCC peak during the summer months (July - September). In 2009, monthly milk-weighted BTSCCs were highest in August (254,000) and lowest in November (212,000).

For more information, including State comparisons and seasonal trends, go to:

NMC home