Colostrum with a punch – how to get an idea of feed value for your calves

As you all know, if your calves fall ill, this can literally “scar” them for life. A healthy calf means a higher likelihood of a healthy milking cow. Ways to determine what goes into the calf in terms of feed value regarding colostrum can be easily measured. This small extra step -done the right way will invariably end up  with money in your pocket by way of good growing calves!

The one shown on your left available on Amazon for a cheap price would work. You would use the %Brix scale on the left (it goes from 0-30 Brix which is PERFECT). Anything north of 23% Brix is good to feed. Higher the Brix, higher the IgG’s. See attached chart that correlates %Brix to IgG’s per quart.

The below link is the same %Brix interpretation tool that gives you this detail:

Note of caution from Dr. Ryan Leiterman of Crystal Creek Natural:  “I had a farmer use one of those and she said all the cows were giving really good colostrum (28% Brix). I said “every cow is 28%? That is weird, there is always variation.” She said yeah, I have colostrum right here from an hour ago, lets test that. We did and sure enough it was 28%. I told her that if the glass lens is not cleaned every time, a fat layer builds and can falsely elevate the results from the fat layer bending the light. We cleaned the lens with 70% rubbing alcohol and retested…18% Brix….total junk. Lesson learned, clean the lens with 70% alcohol after every colostrum sample tested.

I like digital refractometers, they are more accurate in my opinion. Lens still need to be cleaned.

Calf Lab Testing

Ryan Leiterman, D.V.M.

Director of Technical Services

Crystal Creek® Natural, LLC

Phone: 1.888.376.6777

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