Instruments for on-farm determination of colostrum quality such as refractometers and densimeters are increasingly used in dairy farms. The colour of colostrum is also supposed to reflect its quality. A paler or mature milk-like colour is associated with a lower colostrum value in terms of its general composition compared with a more yellowish and darker colour. The objective of this study was to investigate the relationships between colour measurement of colostrum using the CIELAB colour space (CIE L*=from white to black, a*=from red to green, b*=from yellow to blue, chroma value G=visual perceived colourfulness) and its composition. Dairy cow colostrum samples (n=117) obtained at 4·7±1·5 h after parturition were analysed for immunoglobulin G (IgG) by ELISA and for fat, protein and lactose by infrared spectroscopy. For colour measurements, a calibrated spectrophotometer was used. At a cut-off value of 50 mg IgG/ml, colour measurement had a sensitivity of 50·0%, a specificity of 49·5%, and a negative predictive value of 87·9%. Colostral IgG concentration was not correlated with the chroma value G, but with relative lightness L*. While milk fat content showed a relationship to the parameters L*, a*, b* and G from the colour measurement, milk protein content was not correlated with a*, but with L*, b*, and G. Lactose concentration in colostrum showed only a relationship with b* and G. In conclusion, parameters of the colour measurement showed clear relationships to colostral IgG, fat, protein and lactose concentration in dairy cows. Implementation of colour measuring devices in automatic milking systems and milking parlours might be a potential instrument to access colostrum quality as well as detecting abnormal milk.