Colostrum, Part 2

Mar 28, 2022

Have you ever stopped and thought about colostrum? Whether calves are going to a feedlot or staying in your pasture as cows, the lifetime performance of every calf born begins in it’s first hours of life through colostrum from their mother. Calves are born without any natural immunities, and colostrum offers them their first source of nutrition. Even more importantly, it provides protection for their immune systems. The immunoglobulins in colostrum can pass through the calf’s digestive system in the first hours of life, providing an immune boost before natural immunity is developed. The beef industry has stressed the importance of colostrum, but what about the quality? I don’t know of any beef producers who have tested for quality, we just trust the cows to do a good job. As producers, we can influence a cow’s colostrum quality in several ways.

Start by knowing your cow’s breed and age. Simply put, some breeds produce more milk than others. Heifers and older cows may not produce as much as the rest of your herd. Keep some colostrum supplement on hand, because in most cases it’s as easy as some supplemental colostrum to do the trick. Vaccination status is also important. If properly timed, a complete vaccination program helps a cow’s immunity levels to stay high and this is passed through the colostrum to the calf. The last way to impact colostrum is through proper nutrition. For a cow to do her best job of producing quality colostrum, she needs to be at the peak of nutrition. This is achieved through proper supplementation and a good mineral program. A strong Trace Mineral program increases immunoglobulins in colostrum which turns into a lifetime of benefits for your calves. If she is a BCS of 5-6 and on a good Trace Mineral program, she should be able to do her best job of giving her calf a lifetime of performance. 

So let’s answer yes and think about colostrum. A strong healthy cow produces a strong healthy calf, which goes towards your strong healthy profit margin. Smith Fertilizer and Grain wants to help you with your cattle performance. Contact Mike or I, we are here to help you anytime of the year.