A survey of bovine colostrum composition and colostrum management practices on Pennsylvania dairy farms

S. I. Kehoe, B. M. Jayarao, A. J. Heinrichs

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Colostrum composition and management were surveyed via sample and data collection from 55 dairy farms in Pennsylvania. Colostrum samples were analyzed for fat, protein, lactose, total solids, ash, Ig, lactoferrin, water- and fat-soluble vitamins, and minerals. Mean percentages of fat, protein, and lactose in colostrum were 6.7, 14.9, and 2.5, respectively. Concentrations of IgG1, IgG2, IgA, IgM, and lactoferrin were 35.0, 6.0, 1.7, 4.3, and 0.8 mg/mL, respectively. Mean concentrations of fat-soluble vitamins, including retinol, tocopherol, and β-carotene, were 4.9, 2.9, and 0.7 μg/g, respectively. Mean concentrations of water-soluble vitamins were 0.34, 0.90, 4.55, 0.60, 0.15, 0.21, and 0.04 μg/mL for niacin, thiamine, riboflavin, vitamin B12, pyridoxal, pyridoxamine, and pyridoxine, respectively. Mean concentrations (mg/kg) of selected minerals in colostrum were also determined (Ca 4,716; P 4,452; Mg 733; Na 1,058; K 2,845; Zn 38; Fe 5.3; Cu 0.3; S 2,595; and Mn 0.1). The findings of this study revealed that the mean concentrations of most nutrients in colostrum have increased when compared with values previously reported. Results also showed that management practices have improved over time, particularly with regard to colostrum storage and feeding. Additionally, we observed that herd size influenced colostrum management and quality. It can be inferred, based on these findings, that although improvements have been made with regard to colostrum management and quality, there is still a need to educate producers on issues related to storage and timely feeding of colostrum to increase passive transfer and decrease the rate of calf morbidity and mortality.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4108-4116
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of dairy science
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2007

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Food Science
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Genetics


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