Does feeding a colostrum replacer lower a calf’s risk of contracting Johne’s? University of Minnesota researchers hope to answer that question. Last week, they reported preliminary results at the Midwest regional American Dairy Science Association meeting. Blood samples taken at 24 months of age show about 3 percent (five out of 151 calves fed a commercial colostrum replacer at birth) tested positive for Johne’s. By comparison, about 5 percent (9 out of 171 calves fed maternal colostrum at birth) tested positive for Johne’s.

The researchers do not wish to draw conclusions until the study is done. They are currently analyzing the results of blood samples taken at 36 months of age. A third round of sampling will take place next year.