Shaping her future

the colostrum contribution


  • Fernando Soberon Shur-Gain U.S.A., Strykersville, NY 14145
  • Melanie A. Soberon Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14850



cattle, calf, colostrum


Colostrum has long been valued as critical to newborn calf health, but its potential impact on the nutritional programming of the calf and consequently, her lifetime performance in milk production and health, are now areas of active research. New levels of importance and value are being attributed to colostrum, as scientists work to better understand the mechanisms and regulation of epigenetics, the influences of non-nutritional components of colostrum, and the impact of timely colostrum nutrition. Many of these benefits of colostrum were once attributed to passive transfer, but epigenetics and nutritional programming have revealed that there is much more in colostrum than IgG. Relaxin, leptin, insulin, IGF-I, IGF-II, prolactin, and lactoferrin are some of the nutritional and non-nutritional factors in colostrum that have a direct and indirect effect on the development and long-term gene expression of offspring. Researchers have shown that calves that received more colostrum at birth have higher average daily gains improved feed efficiency, higher dry matter intakes post-weaning, reduced time to conception and first calving, increased milk production during 2 lactations, and an increased survivability through second lactation.






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