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Colostrum Banks Pay Big Dividends
Get a better return on your colostrum investment when you combine the Perfect Udder Feeding System ™ with Dairy Tech’s latest colostrum pasteurizer, Matilda ! Article courtesy of Dairy Tech
smart veterinarian recently reminded me that there is no silver bullet when it comes to raising a healthy, productive calf. However, getting full value out of your colostrum is pretty darn close. After all, it’s the most important meal of the calf’s life. The first step in managing this precious commodity is to collect it quickly. For every hour that passes after the calf is born, colostrum quality and immunoglobulin content decrease by 3%. Now, that’s not a very scary number until you think of the common example of a cow calving at quitting time, or a shift change at 10pm. It is not unrealistic for her to go without being milked until the next morning. Easily 10 hours could have passed, and now the quality of her colostrum has been reduced by a full third.
Why is this important?
A calf is born with an incredibly unique set of cells lining its small intestine that are capable of fully absorbing the large immunoglobulin (Ig) molecules and then depositing them into the blood stream. Without these immunoglobulins, the new baby has no immune system to combat bacterial, viral and parasite challenges. This process is called Passive Transfer and life for the calf depends on this wholesale stockpiling of nutrients and immune factors. This has to happen quickly because these cells are only open for a short time. The intestine is most receptive during the first few hours after birth and steadily declines to nearly 0 at 24 hours after birth. By the end of that first day, the specialized cells are replaced with normal epithelial cells and the opportunity for absorption of Ig and other
immune factors is mostly gone. Time is of the essence. Despite the nutrition and health benefits, colostrum can also transfer a risk from the cow to the calf. That is why the second step is to make sure the colostrum is clean and pathogen free, because the very same unique cells that allow the large Ig molecules to pass through to the blood stream can also put the calf at risk if there are pathogenic bacteria and viruses present at the same time.