Veerkamp et al. (1998) make the case for including somatic cell count (SCC) in the index of total economic merit (ITEM, Veerkamp et al., 1995) used to rank dairy bulls and cows in the UK for breeding purposes. They go on to describe an empirical method to obtain a suitable economic value for SCC, reflecting the milk quality payment scheme. Since this work was carried out, the milk price has fallen while price penalties against SCC have risen. Bulk-tank SCC (BTSCC) has fallen in response. Some of this improvement may be due to culling cows with high cell counts. The objective of this work was therefore to establish an economic value for somatic cell counts which reflected the milk quality payment scheme and took into account culling strategy.