Failure of Passive Transfer
Inadequate transfer of antibodies from the dam's colostrum into the calf's blood is a failure of passive transfer.
While the process is biologically determined how well the transfer takes place on modern dairies is determined by how well humans manage harvest, manage and feed colostrum to newborn calves.
A recently reported study of calves in California dairies shows how widely these success rates can vary.
Dairy Percent Calf Blood Serum Total
Mortality Protein (Average)
#1 3% 6.4
#2 6% 6.2
#3 7% 6.2
#4 28% 5.5
#5 39% 5.7 (huge variation here from high to low BSTP so the average here
hides many, many calves with very low BSTP)
What we do as calf enterprise managers makes a difference.
These three words describe the foundation of colostrum management and all three of them depend on calf care personnel.
Reference: Dubrovsky, S.A. and Others "Bovine respiratory (BRD) cause-specific and overall mortality in preweaned calves on California dairies: The BRD 10K Study." Journal of Dairy Science 102:7620-7328 August 2019.