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Title: Preliminary Results on the Effect of Feeding Heat-Treated Colostrum on Health and Growth in Preweaned Dairy Calves

item DONAHUE, M - University Of Minnesota
item GODDEN, S - University Of Minnesota
item BEY, R - University Of Minnesota
item WELLS, S - University Of Minnesota
item Stabel, Judith

Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 7/1/2009
Publication Date: 9/10/2009
Citation: Donahue, M., Godden, S., Bey, R., Wells, S., Stabel, J.R. 2009. Preliminary Results on the Effect of Feeding Heat-Treated Colostrum on Health and Growth in Preweaned Dairy Calves [abstract]. American Association of Bovine Practitioners. p. 22.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Introduction: Previous research showed that heat-treatment of colostrum at 60 ºC for 60 minutes results in a significant reduction in colostral bacteria counts without effecting colostral immunoglobulin concentrations. Moreover, calves fed heat-treated colostrum have improved serum IgG levels when compared to calves fed raw colostrum. 1 It is unclear whether feeding heat-treated colostrum will improve growth or health in preweaned calves. The objective of this study was to describe the effect of feeding heat-treated colostrum on average daily gain (ADG), risk for morbidity and mortality in preweaned calves. Materials and Methods: Newborn calves from six commercial dairy farms in Wisconsin and Minnesota, ranging from 1,200 to 2,500 cows, were enrolled between June and August, 2007. First milking colostrum was collected from fresh cows and refrigerated. Daily, or every other day, the refrigerated colostrum was pooled to create a new batch, mixed, and then split into two equal portions. One half of was kept raw, while the other half was heat-treated at 60oC for 60 minutes using a commercial on farm batch pasteurizer (DairyTech, Inc., Windsor, CO). Newborn heifer calves (n = 1101) were removed from the dam within one hour of birth and alternately assigned either 3.8 L of raw or heat-treated colostrum. All colostrum was fed within two hours of birth. Records for calves included calf ID, birthdate, birth time, the type of colostrum fed, raw or heat-treated, and the individual batch of colostrum fed. Calves were individually housed in barns or hutches. Calf treatment and mortality events until weaning were recorded by farm personal. For a subset of animals in three farms, ADG was calculated using birth and weaning weights obtained using an electronic scale at birth and measuring tape at weaning. Analysis of the treatment effect on average daily gain, used linear regression while controlling for farm as a random effect (Proc MIXED, SAS version 9.1). Logistic regression, controlling for herd as a random effect, was used to estimate the effect of treatment on risk for a sick event and for a death event in the first 60 days of life (Proc GENMOD, SAS version 9.1). Results: Treatment had no effect on growth in the preweaning period. The mean ADG for heat-treated calves (n = 183) was 1.37 lbs/day (sd = 0.36) and 1.37 lbs/day (sd = 0.35) for calves fed raw colostrum (n = 182). For calves fed heat-treated colostrum, 31.8% (183 of 576) had at least one sick event before weaning, as compared to 36.1% (189 of 523) for calves fed raw colostrum. These differences were not significant (p = 0.18). Preweaning mortality was 2.6% (15 of 576) and 1.7% (9 of 522) for calves fed heat-treated and raw colostrum, respectively. These differences were not significant (p = 0.35). Kaplan-Meier and Cox regression analysis of time to sick or death event is forthcoming. Significance: Preliminary analysis suggests that feeding heat-treated colostrum had no effect on growth or mortality risk in the first 60 days of life. Feeding heat-treated colostrum tended to reduce the risk for treatment in the first 60 days of life, but this effect was not significant. Final analysis is ongoing. Long term follow-up of these calves is planned to describe longevity, milk production, and risk for infection with Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis in the adult animal. Acknowledgements: This project was funded by USDA-CSREES. Reference: M. Donahue, S. Godden, R. Bey, S. Wells, J. Fetrow, J.Stabel “Effect of Feeding Raw versus Heat-treated Colostrum on Colostrum Characteristics and Passive Transfer of Immunoglobulin G in Newborn Dairy Calves” at 41st Annual Convention of the AABP in Charlotte; Proc. 41st AABP, Sept. 25-27, 2008. Charlotte, NC. pg. 249