Northwest New York Dairy, Livestock & Field Crops Enrollment

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Colostrum, more than just IgG

Jackson Wright, Dairy
Northwest New York Dairy, Livestock & Field Crops

January 3, 2012

Colostrum is different from milk as it contains a mixture of both lacteal secretions and proteins found in blood serum. Colostrum production is under hormonal control and is influence by estrogen, progesterone, corticosteroids, growth hormones, and prolactin. During late gestation high levels of estrogen and progesterone initiate colostrum production. At parturition, the spike in corticosteroids and drop in progesterone facilitate the transition to normal milk production. In general, the first six milkings after parturition are considered colostrum due to differences in milk composition.

These differences in milk composition include higher levels of protein, fat, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals. In addition, high levels of fat and lactose provide the energy necessary for the calf to regulate its own body temperature. This is critical, as research has suggested that without this energy source calves fat stores would only last about 18 hours. Moreover, colostrum represents the first time the newborn calf will obtain nutrients through digestion instead of from the placenta or maternal blood supply. In addition to energy, the high levels of vitamins and minerals in colostrum may be necessary to initiate the calf's metabolism and facilitate the development of its own digestive system. More interestingly, researchers have discovered that colostrum contains high levels of numerous growth hormones which include insulin-like growth factor I (IGF-I) and insulin-like growth factor II (IGF-II), epidermal growth factor (EGF), transforming growth factor (TGF), insulin, cortisol, relaxin and thyroxine. Most notably IGF-I and II have been shown to be important for both mammary development and maturation of the digestive system, and may influence the long-term thrift and performance of the animal. Finally, because colostrum is fluid this helps hydrate the neonate and the warmth helps the calf overcome the initial shock of entering the world.

Combined these factors show how high quality colostrum is more than just IgGs and feeding this first meal as soon as possible following parturition can influence the long-term thrift of the animal and improve performance as she transitions into the lactating herd.











Upcoming Events

Fertilizers and Herbicides

Event Offers DEC Credits

March 31, 2023
Mount Morris, NY

As input costs rise, it is necessary to employ the best management practices, and it can be advantageous to know what you're getting from your purchases. Plan to attend if you want to understand the terminology, calculations, formulations, and chemistry behind your fertility and herbicide recommendations. 

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Agritourism Workshops Monthly!

February 20, 2023
March 20, 2023
April 17, 2023
May 15, 2023
June 19, 2023
July 17, 2023

Are you thinking of starting an agritourism business or are you currently operating one?
Join our monthly lunch-hour, workshop virtual series and learn how to grow your agritourism business!

The first session will cover the basics of running an agritourism operation. The following sessions will focus on specific topic to help aspiring agritourism entrepreneurs grow their knowledge and profit through this exciting on-farm business.

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Dairy Comp 305 for Spanish Speakers

April 19, 2023

This program was rescheduled from March 30th.

This workshop is for employees, supervisors or managers whose first language is Spanish and whose job entails using DC305 on a daily basis.  The objective is for attendees to improve their understanding of the "language" of DC305 as well as the whys behind consistent data entry.  Since DC305 is specific to each farm, the workshop will focus on general application and deeper understanding of how data is used on dairy farms.

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