Dairy farmers now have an opportunity to develop a better practical
understanding of their cows’ colostrum quality and its ability
to improve calf health, thanks to an innovative initiative from Schering-Plough.
Dairy farmers can now measure the ‘scour beating’ power of their cows’ colostrum by asking their vet for a colostrometer test.
Farmers are being encouraged to take a 250ml colostrum sample
to their vet for a free qualitative assessment of its ‘scour-beating’ power.
Practices participating in the scheme will test the antibody content
of first or second milking colostrum using a device called a colostrometer.
”Colostrometers are simple to use and give you an instant,
visual feedback on whether the colostrum being fed to newborn calves
is packed with the antibodies required to help them ward off scours,” explains
Paul Williams MRCVS, livestock veterinary adviser with Schering-Plough. “Farmers
can then discuss with their vet whether a Rotavec-Corona cow vaccination
regime to boost colostrum quality is worth considering.”
Paul Williams points out that when a calf is born it possesses no natural antibodies
to fight disease. But by drinking good quality colostrum – ideally at least
three litres within six hours of birth – it can develop the necessary protection
against key infectious scours. “The problem is: how do you know if the
colostrum your calves are getting is of good enough quality? – that’s
where the colostrometer comes in,” he says.
Farmers wanting to take advantage of this calf health improvement initiative
should contact their vet for further details.
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