When is Colostrum Not Colostrum?
"Anything collected longer than 4 hours post-calving is not colostrum." That is the statement made by Dr. Fernando Soberon during the seminar, "Colostrum and its importance beyond passive immunity."
This breakout session at the Dairy Calf and Heifer Association meeting in Lancaster PA on April 4 and 5 had a number of similarly challenging breakout sessions.
So, what was Dr. Soberon talking about? He was drawing on research that shows declining antibody concentrations in colostrum the longer we wait for the first milking of a fresh cow.
These data show that by 14 hours post-calving the antibody concentration is, on the average, down 33 percent from what it was shortly after calving. That value, 33 percent of original antibody concentration, is similar to the typical concentration of second milkings of fresh cows.
So, maybe he was pushing the limits by saying 4 hours but the general point was well taken. If you want to harvest the antibodies that a cow has spent several weeks concentrating in the udder, you need to milk her as soon as practical after she calves.
More this week from the DCHA meetings.