What is good colostrum?
The optimum is initial colostrum production of four to eight litres.
The quality of the colostrum cannot be assessed with the naked eye, explained Ger. “The colour or thickness says nothing about the quality. It has to be measured!” In the past, dairy farmers used a dip gauge, but the refractometer or BRIX meter is more accurate. “The BRIX value of the colostrum must be at least 23,” continued Ger. “Preferably 25. That equates to between 70 and 85 grams of IgG, immunoglobins, per litre of milk. During its first feed, a calf needs 250 IgG for every 40 kg of body weight,” he calculated. That means that a calf needs to ingest at least 3 to 3.5 litres, on condition that the colostrum itself is of very good quality. If the colostrum quality is lower, the calf must drink more volume. “And that makes life far more difficult.” If the quality of the colostrum is below par, Ger recommends speaking to the cattle feed consultant. “Optimising the feed during the dry period has a massive influence on the quality of the colostrum.”. Johan explained that it works the other way around, too. “If you have good-quality colostrum, then your dry period management is good, too.”