Introducing HealthProtect

New to the ForFarmers product portfolio is HealthProtect, an additive proven to reduce Somatic Cell Count (SCC), minimise mastitis cases and help farmers avoid penalties.

Dairy Nutrition

Part of ForFarmers’ drive to help farmers address profitability issues is the launch of new feed additive HealthProtect which can help farms avoid costly penalties for above threshold somatic cell counts.

“Nearly a fifth of dairy farms experience cell counts over 200,000 at any one time, which can cost the average herd as much as £3,000 per month,” explains product manager Bruce Forshaw. “Fed at a rate of 100g per cow per day the typical cost of including HealthProtect in the diet is just 11p per cow per day,” he adds.

“Our trials across the Netherlands last year, and more recently in the UK with herds experiencing cell counts of 200,000 or more have been really encouraging. They showed that HealthProtect can bring cell counts down by an average of 50,000 within four weeks.”

How does HealthProtect work?

As well as reducing cell counts the product improves overall udder health and reduces the incidence of mastitis. “It is basically a medium chain fatty acid which inhibits the gram positive bacteria which cause many of the most common mastitis issues,” explains Bruce. “The product’s unique molecular structure penetrates the bacterial cell wall making the cells more permeable and ultimately killing the bacteria.”

Gram positive bacteria are those with a thicker cell wall, so named because they can be identified by a purple dye in the ‘Gram’ test. Examples include Streptococcus agalactiae, Coagulase-negative staphylococci, Streptococcus uberis and Streph. Dysgalactiae.

Is it suitable for my herd?

According to AHDB average SCC’s across the national herd were 164,000 in both 2021 and 2020. SCC is one of the main indicators of milk quality and is quantified as the number of cells per ml of milk.

Levels typically increase after calving and towards the end of lactation, but other factors including season and management will also affect it.

Health Protect graph

Results and benefits

“HealthProtect has proven to be successful in bringing down cell counts, but of course it is no substitute for scrupulous management,” explains Bruce. “Maintaining high standards of hygiene and good milking technique must always be a priority, with this new feed additive supporting that.”

The trials in the Netherlands shows a reduction in cell count was the primary benefit, but other positive results include a 35% reduction in new udder infections. When considering the loss of yield from cows with raised cell counts or mastitis the gains from introducing HealthProtect may be much bigger.

“A cow with a lower cell count will be performing better, able to reach her yield potential and have improved fertility. Margin per cow is where it should be,” concludes Bruce. “If your herd has higher than average cell counts, or you’re concerned about potential penalties, it is well worth exploring what HealthProtect could offer you.”