Colostrum cleanliness is in need of improvement, according to research from PennStateUniversity. An analysis of 55 on-farm colostrum samples found that 38 percent exceeded the threshold for colony-forming units (cfu) of bacteria.

The results show the median value of the samples was 15,300 cfu of bacteria per milliliter. That’s below the threshold of 100,000 cfu per ml. However, “a few very bad samples” pushed the average plate count to a whopping 997,625 cfu per ml, says Jud Heinrichs, professor of dairy science at PennState.

Coliform counts also topped threshold levels.

“These results suggest that many farms have an opportunity to improve colostrum quality,” says Sylvia Kehoe, dairy and animal science graduate student at PennState.