Milk recordings are a useful tool used by dairy farmers for understanding and keeping control of cell counts on farms.

Changes to regulations and an increased focus on improving the genetics and efficiencies of dairy herds have moved recordings very much to the forefront.

The data available from recording cows is extremely useful to dairy farmers when they are making decisions on their farms, including breeding and drying off decisions.

Mastitis and high cell counts are not separate issues – they are the same issue presented in a different way.

A cow with a high cell count is essentially a cow with sub-clinical mastitis, and is potentially infecting other cows within the herd – along with increasing your bulk tank somatic cell count (SCC).

Milk recording

It is recommended that at least four to five milk recordings are completed per year, but when should you complete the first one?

Ideally, you should complete two recordings within 60 days of the first cow calving.

These early recordings help to determine the effectiveness of your drying-off routine, and they check the cure rate during the dry period.

Along with determining how successful your drying off procedure was, these early recordings will help to identify any infections that were picked up during the dry period.

Some cows will be too recently calved to complete a recording, but the data available from the cows that are recorded will be very useful.

The focus on many farms will still be on calving, but if you started calving in mid-January, then your first two recording should be completed by early to mid-March.


Completing a milk recording is one thing, using the data from it another.

It is important that when you perform a milk recording, you use the data that has been generated to improve your herd.

Getting cell counts under control can be a challenge, but that should not be the reason as to why it is not done.

Chronically infected cows need to be removed from your herd and focus on keeping the cell count in your uninfected cows low.

Cows that have picked up and infection over the winter period should be treated and then monitored throughout the coming months.