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Predicting colostrum and calf blood components based on refractometry

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  30 April 2021

Do T. Hue
Affiliation:
Davies Livestock Research Centre, School of Animal & Veterinary Sciences, University of Adelaide, Roseworthy Campus, Roseworthy, SA 5371, Australia Faculty of Animal Science, Vietnam National University of Agriculture, Hanoi, Vietnam
John L. Williams
Affiliation:
Davies Livestock Research Centre, School of Animal & Veterinary Sciences, University of Adelaide, Roseworthy Campus, Roseworthy, SA 5371, Australia Dipartimento di Scienze Animali, della Nutrizione e degli Alimenti, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Piacenza, Italy
Kiro Petrovski
Affiliation:
Davies Livestock Research Centre, School of Animal & Veterinary Sciences, University of Adelaide, Roseworthy Campus, Roseworthy, SA 5371, Australia
Cynthia D. K. Bottema
Affiliation:
Davies Livestock Research Centre, School of Animal & Veterinary Sciences, University of Adelaide, Roseworthy Campus, Roseworthy, SA 5371, Australia
Corresponding

Abstract

Provision of good quality colostrum is essential for the passive immunity and nutrition of newborn calves. In order to better predict the quality of colostrum and the transfer of passive immunity, the relationships between colostrum components and between calf serum components were examined in this study. Samples of bulk tank milk, colostrum pooled from several cows 0–4 d postpartum, and colostrum collected from individual cows twice daily for 3 d post-partum were compared. With the exception of fat percentage, there were strong correlations between the levels of the components in the pooled colostrum and in the individual cow colostrum collected 0–1 d postpartum. The correlations between total solids as measured by Brix refractometry and total protein, immunoglobulin G (IgG), lactose % and protein % in colostrum within 1 d postpartum and pooled colostrum were 0.92, 0.90, −0.88 and 0.98, respectively. These high correlations enabled these colostrum components to be accurately predicted from Brix % and therefore, the volume of colostrum required to feed neonate calves can be optimised based on Brix refractometry to avoid failure of passive immunity transfer. To assess whether the components obtained from colostrum were correlated in calf blood, newborn calves were separated from their dams before suckling and blood sampled before feeding (day 0), and on days 1 and 7, after receiving colostrum or milk twice a day. The correlations between glucose, total protein, IgG, and gamma-glutamyl transferase (GGT) levels in the calf blood were lower than the correlations observed between the colostrum components. The highest correlation was between serum protein measured by refractometer and serum IgG within one week postpartum. GGT activity was not a good indicator of serum IgG levels. However, serum protein refractometer measurements predicted serum IgG level with high accuracy, providing an on-farm test to determine that calves have received sufficient passive immunity and colostrum components.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © The Author(s), 2021. Published by Cambridge University Press on behalf of Hannah Dairy Research Foundation

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