Factors affecting colostrum quality and calf passive transfer levels in Holstein cattle

Abdullahoglu E., DURU S., Ozluer A., FİLYA İ.

ANIMAL SCIENCE PAPERS AND REPORTS, vol.37, no.1, pp.29-39, 2019 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 37 Issue: 1
  • Publication Date: 2019
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.29-39
  • Bursa Uludag University Affiliated: Yes


The aim of this study was to determine the quality of colostrum in Holstein cattle and factors affecting serum total protein and immunoglobulin levels of calves. In the study colostrum samples taken from 334 Holstein cows in the first milking and serum samples collected from 354 calves born to these cows were evaluated using a digital refractometer. The minimum, maximum, mean and standard error values were 14.4%, 40.6% and 27.9 +/- 0.2%, respectively, for the colostrum Brix and they were 19.7 mg/ml, 168.1 mg/ml and 95.9 +/- 1.4 m g/ml, respectively, for colostrum immunoglobulin. The same values were 3.9 g/dL, 10.9 g/dL and 6.5 +/- 0.1 g/dL, respectively, for the serum total protein and 2.2 mg/ml, 37.7 mg/ml and 13.6 +/- 0.3 mg/ml, respectively, for immunoglobulin. The share of the colostrum samples below Brix 22% was 8.2% and that of the samples with immunoglobulin levels below 50 mg/ml was 3%. The percentage share of calves with a scrum total protein level below 5.5 g/dL. was found to be 15%, while the percentage of the immunoglobulin levels below 10 mg/ml was found to be approximately 30%. Birth season, lactation number, birth type and body condition score were found to have significant effects on colostrum quality (P<0.05). The serum total protein and immunoglobulin levels of female calves born in spring-summer to cows in their 4th and successive lactation and consuming at least 3 L colostrum Brix 30% in the first feeding were higher than in the others. Colostrum quality of cows and serum characteristics of calves should be evaluated in dairy farms. This is especially important for farms where calf deaths are more prevalent. Because of varying absorption ability, it may be advisable to give Holstein calves 3 L colostrum including IgG with min. Brix 23% or min. 80 mg/ml in the first feeding.