Effect of Somatic Cell Score on Protein Yield in Holsteins

  • Khan, M.S. (Department of Animal Breeding and Genetics, University of Agriculture) ;
  • Shook, G.E. (Department of Dairy Science, University of Wisconsin)
  • Received : 1997.03.20
  • Accepted : 1998.04.06
  • Published : 1998.10.01


The study was conducted to determine if variation in protein yield can be explained by expressions of early lactation somatic cell score (SCS) and if prediction can be improved by including SCS among the predictors. A data set was prepared (n = 663,438) from Wisconsin Dairy Improvement Association (USA) records for protein yield with sample days near 20. Stepwise regression was used requiring F statistic (p < .01) for any variable to stay in the model. Separate analyses were run for 12 combinations of four seasons and first three parities. Selection of SCS variables was not consistent across seasons or lactations. Coefficients of detennination ($R^2$) ranged from 51 to 61% with higher values for earlier lactations. Including any expression of SCS in the prediction equations improved $R^2$ by < 1 %. SCS was associated with milk yield on the sample day, but the association was not strong enough to improve the prediction of future yield when other expressions of milk yield were in the model.