Friday, February 19, 2016

Thawing and Warming Colostrum

At a dairy meeting in Brattleboro, Vermont, on Thursday this week (February 18, 2016) we got on the topic of freezing and thawing colostrum.

Several of the dairy producers attending had never frozen colostrum. Others had unfavorable experiences with frozen colostrum - it took much, much too long to thaw.

We talked about planning to freeze colostrum in containers that will allow thawing at a reasonable rates. We all agreed that using four-quart containers (one gallon jugs) was not a good choice - too long to freeze and way, way too long to thaw.

A number of those attending were not aware of the risk of cooking antibodies (that is, denaturing them) if the thawing and warming water was too hot.

So, we reviewed the 130F (55C) threshold for this water. I explained that as antibodies are heated close to 140F they get cooked - no longer can act as an antibody.

Thus, 130F threshold has a build-in safety factor and can be used with employees and anyone else that is not too skilled at calf care.

Before we left the topic I reminded the folks that when freezing colostrum the lowest bacteria counts will be achieved by chilling it rapidly after collection before placing it into the freezer.

I showed them pictures of ways to rapidly chill colostrum to 60F (16C) within 30 minutes after collection so it is ready to go into the freezer. We also reviewed what happens (growth of bacteria) if warm (cow body temperature) colostrum goes directly into a freezer. For more on this chilling process with pictures click HERE.

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