Milk yield and somatic cells in dairy ewes with respect to their mutual relations
Keywords:Lacaune, milk yield, somatic cell count and score, SCC, Slovakia
The objective of this study was to analyze milk yield and somatic cell count (SCC) expressed as somatic cell sore (SCS) in Lacaune dairy breed. Data from milk performance testing recorded between 2016 and 2018 (farm in West Slovakia) were used. A total, 377 individual milk yield and SCC records of 61 ewes (first, second and third lacation, respectively) were analysed. Mixed model for milk yield included fixed factors: SCC class (lowest, low, middle, high and highest), year of measurement, lactation number, month in milk and interaction between month in milk and SCC class, and random factors of ewe and error. Mixed model for SCS included milk yield class (lowest, low, middle, high, highest), year of measurement, lactation number, month in milk and interaction between month in milk and milk yield class. Random factors of ewe and error were considered as well. Milk yield was significantly affected ( p <0.05 or p <0.01) by all investigated factors. Except for interaction between month in milk and milk yield class, the remaining factors significantly affected (p <0.05 or p <0.01) also SCS. The analyses confirmed that SCC may be used as a useful indicator of udder health. It may help in identifying infected ewes, and thus, avoiding mammary infections to be spread throughout the whole flock.
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