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Colostrum management practices on New York dairy farms.

T. A. Westhoff

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06-23-2020

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Abstract:

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Colostrum management practices on New York dairy farms.
T. A. Westhoff*1, C. M. Ryan2, T. R. Overton2, S. Mann1. 1Department of Population Medicine and Diagnostic Sciences, Cornell University Ithaca, NY, 2Department of Animal Science, Cornell University Ithaca, NY.

The study objective was to describe colostrum management practices on New York (NY) dairy farms. A convenience sample of 18 NY Holstein dairies with average (range) milking herd size of 1,409 (540 to 4,150) cows were enrolled between October 2019 and February 2020. Data about colostrum management were collected using a questionnaire. Descriptive statistics were performed on colostrum harvest, management, and feeding. Colostrum was harvested into buckets in the parlor (n = 12, 66.7%), hospital parlor (n = 2, 11.1%), or maternity pen (n = 4, 22.2%). Out of 14 farms that harvested colostrum in the parlor or hospital parlor, 9 collected 3X/d and 5 collected 2�/d. Out of 4 farms that harvested colostrum in the maternity pen, 3 harvested within 2h of calving and 1 harvested 1�/d. Just over half (n = 10, 55.6%) of farms discarded colostrum for visual abnormality, oversupply, or not meeting farm-specific minimum Brix. Colostrum was pooled (n = 7, 38.9%), heat treated (n = 3, 16.7%), refrigerated (n = 12, 66.7%), filled into bags or containers (n = 14, 77.8%), frozen (n = 8, 44.4%), or fed directly to the dam's calf (n = 2, 11.1%). Two (11.1%) farms used pre-cooled milking equipment to rapidly cool colostrum during harvest. Colostrum Brix and calf serum total protein was read by a refractometer on 14 (77.7%) and 5 (27.8%) farms, respectively. Average (range) first feeding of colostrum was 3.73 (2.84 to 3.79) L and 3.50 (1.89 to 3.79) L for heifer and bull calves, respectively. Farms fed a second feeding of colostrum for heifer (n = 14, 77.7%) and bull calves (n = 7, 38.9%), with an average (range) volume of 2.00 (1.89 to 2.84) L. The first colostrum was fed via esophageal feeder (n = 12, 66.7%), combination of bottle or esophageal feeder (n = 4, 22.2%), or using a bottle (n = 2, 11.1%). This feeding occurred within 2h (n = 17, 94.4%) or within 12h of life (n = 1, 5.6%). Median colostrum Brix determined from all colostrum harvest on 12 farms over a 9-d period averaged (range) 24.6 (21.5 to 26.4) %. These results provide insight into typical colostrum management practices on mid- to large-size NY dairy herds.

Keywords: colostrum, New York, management.