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Colostrum: Quantity, Quality and Timeliness

Libby Eiholzer, Bilingual Dairy
Northwest New York Dairy, Livestock & Field Crops

Last Modified: June 10, 2013

We all know that feeding calves adequate amounts of high quality colostrum, and feeding it fast, is an essential part of getting them off to a good start. But do your employees understand just how critical this is? Share this refresher course on colostrum management with your Spanish-speaking employees, and brush up on your own Spanish so that you can get the message across.

Colostrum is the milk produced by cows prior to calving. It contains key nutrients to promote healthy growth, such as protein, vitamins, minerals and energy, as well as antibodies (or immunoglobulins, IgGs) to prevent disease. Since the calf's ability to absorb IgGs decreases quickly after birth, it is important to feed colostrum as soon as possible. Standard recommendations are to feed 4 quarts of colostrum within the first few hours after birth. You should strive to feed at least 50% of calves within the first hour after birth, which is the time in which they can most efficiently absorb IgGs.

While quantity and timing of colostrum feeding are important, quality should certainly not be forgotten. If possible, IgG levels should be measured using a Colostrometer to ensure that the antibody concentration is sufficient. Since colostrum provides a great medium for bacteria growth, utmost care should be taken to sanitize all containers (buckets, bottles, nipples, tubers, etc.) between uses and to cool colostrum quickly after milking if it will not be fed immediately.

Below you will find a few easy phrases to help you communicate the importance of high quality colostrum for healthy calves.

Calostro: Cantidad, Calidad y Puntualidad
El calostro es la leche producida por la vaca inmediatamente antes del parto. Contiene nutrientes claves como proteína, vitaminas, minerales y energía para promover un crecimiento sano, además anticuerpos (también conocidas como inmunoglobulinas o IgGs) para prevenir las enfermedades. Como la capacidad de la becerra de absorber las IgGs disminuye rápidamente después del nacimiento, es importante darla calostro lo más pronto como sea posible. La recomendación estándar es dar un galón de calostro dentro de las primeras horas después del nacimiento. Debe esforzarse dar de comer a por lo menos 50% de las becerras dentro de una hora después del nacimiento, como eso es el tiempo en que pueden absorber las IgGs con más eficiencia.
 
Mientras la cantidad y la puntualidad de la alimentación de calostro son importantes, no hay que olvidar la calidad. Si es posible, midan el nivel de IgGs con un Calostrometer para asegurar que el nivel de anticuerpos es suficiente. Como el calostro es un buen caldo para el cultivo de bacterias, hay que siempre desinfectar todos los envases (cubetas, botellas, biberones, tubos, etc.) después de cada uso y enfriar el calostro rápidamente después del ordeño si no lo van a usar inmediatamente.
 
Aquí se puede encontrar unas frases fáciles para ayudarle a comunicar sobre la importancia de calostro de alta calidad para becerras sanas.

Colostrum Handling El Manejo del Calostro
Always cover the colostrum pail Siempre tape la cubeta de calostro
Put the colostrum in the refrigerator Ponga el calostro en el refrigerador
Measure the IgGs in the colostrum Mida el nivel de IgGs en el calostro
Feed the calf quickly after birth Dela de comer rápidamente después del nacimiento
Feed the calf a gallon of colostrum Dé la becerra un galón de calostro
Disinfect the bottle Desinfecte la botella

Reference:
Leadly, Sam. Calf Facts. 



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Upcoming Events

Pasture Walk - Wild Geese Farm - Franklinville, NY

August 21, 2019
5:30pm - 8:30pm
Fanklinville, NY

Topics to include: Tools for Managing Rotational Grazed Pasture, Weed ID and Management and Calculating Cost of Production. 
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Bovine Reproduction and AI Training Course

September 24 - September 25, 2019
9:30am - 3:30pm
Shortsville, NY

This two-day AI workshop will be held on September 24 and 25. 

Topics covered will include:

• Reproductive Physiology
• Synchronization Protocols
• Heat Detection
• Artificial Insemination
• Proper Thawing of Semen
• Loading A.I. guns
• Practice Breeding Cows

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Corn Congress - Batavia Location

Event Offers DEC Credits

January 8, 2020
10:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.
Batavia, NY

Please join the NWNY Dairy, Livestock and Field Crop Program's team for our annual Corn Congress.  DEC re-certification points and Certified Crop Adviser credits available, so bring your picture ID.  Lunch is included.  Hear from program-related professionals and visit with our sponsoring vendors.  
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Announcements

2019 NY Corn & Soybean Yield Contests - Entries Due 8/30/19

The annual corn and soybean yield contests sponsored by the New York Corn & Soybean Growers Association are underway. Click Here for the 2019 yield contest entry form.  This form and contest rules can also be found on the NY Corn & Soybean Growers Association web page at: https://nycornsoy.org/ 

Entry forms must be postmarked by Friday, August 30 and mailed or emailed to Mike Stanyard. Cost is $30 per entry. Good Luck! 


Preventing Sexual Harassment on Farms

If you're wondering how to get your farm business in compliance with NYS Sexual Harassment Regulations, you've come to the right place.  This is a recording of the presentations given at the live training on July 30 and July 31, 2019 across New York State, which provides updates and farm-specific resources developed by CCE. View the recording here: https://youtu.be/_1IjmAj1Nb8.

RMA Announces Additional One-time Changes to Prevented Planting Provisions

June 29, 2019

RMA Announces Additional One-time Changes to Prevented Planting Provisions
for 2019 Crop Year

In response to delayed and prevented planting resulting from above average rainfall and wetness, the USDA Risk Management Agency has made a one-time change to the 2019 crop year prevented planting rules that effectively allows silage corn, if planted as a cover crop following local agricultural expert guidelines, to be acceptable as a post-prevented planting cover crop. Under this one-time rule change, producers are allowed to produce this crop while retaining their prevented planting payment. This change couples with previously announced one-time changes to the prevented planting rules - including expanded acceptable uses for post-prevented planting cover crops and a change in the cover crop haying and grazing start date rule - serve to help those struggling to meet their forage needs due to the weather.

Read the full article from the New York Crop Insurance Education Program.

The USDA-RMA states that "For crop insurance purposes, a cover crop is a crop generally recognized by agricultural experts as agronomically sound for the area for erosion control or other purposes related to conservation or soil improvement." PRO-DAIRY specialists Joe Lawrence and Karl Czymmek and Dr. Quirine Ketterings, Professor and Director of Cornell Nutrient Management Spear Program have released a letter stating "Corn on Prevented Planting acres meets these objectives."


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