for the assessment of colostrum quality
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Brix refractometers are the most accurate, practical method for on farm assessment of the quality of colostrum.
Colostrum “quality” is referring to the level of antibodies per litre of colostrum. “Good quality” colostrum has a high concentration of antibodies whereas “poor quality’ has a low concentration of antibodies. It is preferential to feed “good quality” colostrum to new born calves as soon as possible after birth.
A Brix refractometer is an indirect method for measuring the quality of colostrum on farm. They are reasonably robust and provide good accuracy for measuring colostrum quality, independent of ambient temperature or frothiness of colostrum (unlike a colostrometer).
How do I use it?
- Take sample from the test bucket- this is what is being fed to the calf.
- Using a pipette, place 1-2 drops on prism only (1 drop for thick samples, 2 drops for thin samples).
- Press down cover plate so that the sample spreads out over the prism.
- Hold the refractometer up to a light source and look through the eyepiece.
- Rotate the eyepiece whilst looking through it until the scale comes into focus.
- Continue to press down the cover plate whilst looking through the eyepiece and read the level between the blue and white sections. This is the Brix reading of the sample.
- Fuzziness tends to happen at higher Brix readings but estimations of Brix can still easily be made.
- Some excellent quality colostrum will be off the scale and will appear as a blue line at the top.
- Always clean and dry prism after use.
What is good quality colostrum on the Brix refractometer?
Readings of 22% Brix or greater indicate good quality colostrum
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