Monday, October 24, 2016

How Does Your Colostrum Compare?

Another national study of colostrum is reported in the November issue of the Journal of Dairy Science. These 24 dairies were in northern Victoria state in Australia.

Antibody concentration:
Australian dairies reported a Brix average of 21%. This compares to the US study average of 21%.
Are you testing colostrum with a Brix refractometer? If "Yes," what is your average reading?

Total bacteria count:
Australian dairies reported bacteria counts (Total Plate Count, cfu/ml) as 42 percent over 100,000cfu/ml. This compares to the US study with a values of 45 percent. 
Do you sample and culture your colostrum at least once a year? If "Yes," what percent of your samples were less than 100,000cfu/ml total plate count goal?

Coliform count:
Australian dairies reported bacteria counts (Total Coliform Count, cfu/ml) as 6 percent greater than 10,000cfu/ml. No comparable data are available for US.
Do you sample and culture your colostrum at least once a year? If "Yes," what percent of your samples were leass than 10,000cfu/ml coliform count?

If you combine all three criteria (antibody concentration, bacteria total plate count, bacteria coliform count) the percent of samples that met all three acceptable thresholds was 23 percent for Australian samples. The comparable figure for US study was 39 percent. 

The message is that the chances of feeding colostrum that is either too low in antibodies or too high in bacteria can get pretty high on a dairy farm. Only good management practices, including testing, can prevent this from happening. 

Reference: A.J. Phillips and Others, "Survey of bovine colostrum quality and hygiene on northern Victoria dairy farms." Journal of Dairy Science 99:8981-8990 Nov 2016

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