Top 10 reasons for disappointing herd colostrum results

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Delivery of high-quality colostrum is a critical component of a successful calf-rearing enterprise. If colostrum is failing to do its job, Sheila McGuirk, Professor of Large Animal Internal Medicine and Food Animal Production Medicine at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, identifies these “Top The Reasons for Disappointing Herd Colostrum Results”:

  1. Calves suckle before leaving the calving pen, meaning they spend more than two hours in the pen.
  2. Colostrum is contaminated with bacteria.
  3. More than six hours expire before fresh cows are milked for the first time.
  4. Required immunoglobulin mass is not delivered when there is adequate efficiency of absorption.
  5. Insufficient colostrum is available because low-quality and first-calf-heifer colostrum is not used.
  6. Colostrum supplement or replacement powder is added to colostrum.
  7. Inappropriate expectations of colostrum replacement products.
  8. Late summer heat stress on transition cows.
  9. Calves aren’t tested for blood serum total protein and/or serum IgG levels.
  10. Test results are not reliable.


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