Nation-Wide Evaluation of Colostrum Quality

  • Kimberly M. Morrill (Iowa State University)
  • Erin Conrad (Iowa State University)
  • Howard D. Tyler (Iowa State University)


Samples of maternal colostrum (MC) were collected from 67 farms in 12 states between June and October, 2010 to determine IgG concentration and bacterial contamination. Samples were identified by breed, lactation, and if the sample was fresh, refrigerated or frozen prior to collection. Concentration of IgG in MC ranged from < 1 to 200 mg/ml, with a mean IgG concentration of 68.8 mg/ml. Nearly 30% of MC contained < 50 mg of IgG/ml. The IgG concentration increased with parity (42.4, 68.6, 95.9 mg/ml in 1st, 2nd, and 3rd and later lactations, respectively). No differences in IgG concentration were observed among breeds or storage method, however, IgG was highest in samples collected in the Midwest and lowest in samples collected in the Southwest (79.7 vs. 64.3 mg/ml). Total plate count (TPC) of samples ranged from 3.0 to 6.8 Log10 cfu/ml with a mean of 4.9 Log10 cfu/ml (SD = 0.9) and was greater in samples collected in the Southeast compared with other regions of the country. Pooled samples had greater TPC than individual samples and refrigerated samples had greater TPC than frozen and fresh samples. Nearly 43% of samples collected had TPC > 100,000 cfu/ml, 16.9% of the samples were > 1 million. Only 39.4% of the samples collected met industry recommendations for both IgG concentration and TPC. These data suggest that nearly 60% of MC on dairy farms is inadequate, and a large number of calves are at risk of failure of passive transfer and/or bacterial infections. These data also suggests regional differences in MC quality.

Keywords: ASL R2711

How to Cite:

Morrill, K. M., Conrad, E. & Tyler, H. D., (2012) “Nation-Wide Evaluation of Colostrum Quality”, Iowa State University Animal Industry Report 9(1). doi: https://doi.org/10.31274/ans_air-180814-977

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Published on
01 Jan 2012
Peer Reviewed