Monday, October 23, 2017

16% of Calf Mortality Tied to Antibody Levels in Newborn Blood

Yes, that is what the title says, By following best colostrum management practices you should be able to drop your calf mortality rate by 16%. 

Well maybe that is an overgeneralization. But, recently reported research on 26 Upper Midwestern US dairy farms using automated milk feeding systems examined the connection between rate of mortality and the successful transfer of passive immunity via colostrum. 

They checked blood serum total protein [BSTP] levels on the calves that were in group housing for the automatic feeders. [BSTP is a measure of blood antibody levels] Depending on how you define passive transfer failure here are the BSTP results:

Below 5.0g/dL - 23.3% of all the samples in the study
Below 5.2g/dL - 36.0% of all the samples in the study

The goals I use with my client farms are
Below 5.0 = 10%
Below 5.5 = 20%

Thus, there were lots of calves in this study with less than desirable passive transfer of immunity. They found that they could explain 16% of the variation among the calf population mortality by knowing the BSTP of the calf. 

Reference: Jorgensin, M.W. and Others, "Mortality and health treatment rates of dairy calves in automated milk feeding systems in the Upper Midwest of the United States." Journal of Dairy Science 100:9186-9193 October 2017

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