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Getting Dairy Calves Off to a Good Start —

The SIP Principle with Colostrum By Maurice L. Eastridge - Department of Animal Sciences - The Ohio State University As soon as the dairy calf exits the uterus of the cow, the maternal nutrition and protection from disease by blood transfer of nutrients and immune cells directly to the fetus ceases. This nutrition and immunity now shifts to absorption of nutrients and immune cells found within colostrum to further protect the newborn and get it off to a good start. It has been well documented for years that consumption of colostrum, the first mammary gland secretion from the dam, is essential for low calf morbidity and mortality. It’s that simple, but not exactly. This process, called S I P, involves the: Supply of colostrum, Immunoglobulin (Ig) concentration, and Pathogens of low presence in colostrum

Supply of Colostrum

Many farms str uggle today with having an adequate supply of high-quality colostrum for feeding

calves; thus, most farms will have some frozen as a back-up plan. It has been perplexing for years as to what factors affect the yield of colostrum. In a recent study conducted with Holstein cows at the University of Bern in Switzerland, first-lactation

cows produced about 10 lb of colostrum (range = 4 to 24 lb), and cows with two or more lactations averaged 43 lb (3 to 46 lb). Although the average yield would provide a sufficient supply, some cows within the study yielded very low amounts of colostrum. Cows obviously calve at different times of the day, which results in different time intervals to milking time, but in this study, time from calving to milking did not affect colostrum yield. In addition, the colostrum yield was poorly correlated to milk yield for the entire lactation. Risk factors suggested for potentially reducing colostrum yield have included a shortened dry period, low protein and energy intakes during the dry period, and heat stress, but limited scientific evidence is available to directly identify the major risk factors for reducing colostrum yield. Among several studies, nutrition of the dry cow has generally resulted in minimal effects on colostrum yield. In a recent study conducted at * Continued on page 34


March 2018

American Dairymen March 2018  
American Dairymen March 2018