The Effect of Season as Well as Dry Period Management and Nutrition on Colostrum Quality and Quantity
Principal Investigator: Sabine Mann
DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant):
Access to high-quality colostrum is the cornerstone of raising healthy replacement heifers efficiently. Adequate transfer of immunity through ingestion of colostrum minimizes costly calf-hood diseases and reduces antimicrobial usage. Prepartum risk factors influencing colostrum production of modern dairy cows are largely unstudied despite the fact that many farms experience production of low volume or quality of colostrum. We seek to identify management practices that alter colostrum production to allow us to formulate adequate recommendations for NY producers. In this observational field study we will evaluate seasonal, management, and nutritional factors on 21 farms in NY and evaluate relationships with colostrum production. Colostrum quality and quantity will be recorded on farm and risk factor data collected by questionnaire, computer records, and quarterly farm visits. All potential risk factors will be evaluated comprehensively after the completion of data collection in year 1. Reporting and outreach efforts are conducted in year 2. Within the project period, we will use results to make general as well as farm-specific recommendations on improving colostrum volume and quality. Immediate outcomes of interest are colostrum volume and Brix %, as well as transfer of passive immunity in calves. Additional benefits include added income from surplus colostrum sales. Within and beyond the life of the grant we will also monitor annual pre-weaning morbidity and mortality rates.