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Pasteurizing Milk and Colostrum (English & Spanish)


Professional heifer growers and dairy producers are faced with the challenge of raising healthy calves while still paying close attention to rearing costs and profit. Factors that may be considered in selecting a liquid feeding program may include the number of calves fed, economics and cash flow, nutritional characteristics, calf performance targets, resource availability -- for example, consistent supply of non-saleable milk -- infectious disease control concerns, and personal preferences. Feeding raw non-saleable milk represents one way to gain important economic and nutritional efficiencies but can introduce the risk of infectious diseases to dairy calves. The recent introduction of commercial on-farm pasteurization systems offers producers a method for reducing the risk of pathogen transmission and can be a viable economic strategy for feeding dairy calves. However, to be successful, producers must be committed to properly managing and monitoring a pasteurized, non-saleable milk feeding program. This paper will discuss some of the benefits and limitations of feeding pasteurized non-saleable milk; describe commercially available on-farm pasteurization systems and the results of studies feeding pasteurized non-saleable milk; and outline the important considerations needed to successfully adopt and implement a pasteurized, non-saleable milk feeding program. The paper will also discuss special considerations and early research findings surrounding the heat-treatment of colostrum.


Sandra Godden DVM DVSc
Department of Veterinary Population Medicine,
University of Minnesota