Minnesota Agriculture Commissioner Thom Petersen recently released the annual list of top Minnesota dairy herds with low somatic cell counts (SCC). Somatic cell count is a key indicator of milk quality – a lower SCC count is better for cheese production and a longer shelf life for bottled milk. In honor of June Dairy Month, 122 Minnesota dairy farms are being recognized for superior herd management skills by achieving an average SCC of under 100,000.

Although somatic cells occur naturally and are not a food safety concern, dairy farmers monitor them because they can be used as a measure of the health of their cows. Processors also pay a premium for milk with low counts. A farmer whose herd has a very low count can receive a significantly higher price per hundredweight compared to a farmer whose herd average is high.

Locally that list includes:

Todd County

Roger and Laura Primus; Edward Kauffman; Tim Bruder; Keith and Jennifer Middendorf; Paul and Bonnie Middendorf; Lloyd Blommel; Peter Mark Hendrickson; Dominic Primu;, Mike, Keri, and Anna Salber.

Otter Tail County

James Hanson; Suzanne Jacobs; Rob and Amie Ruther; Duane Burke; Brookside Farm.

The SCC list of Minnesota dairy farms is online at http://www.mda.state.mn.us/lowscc