Case Study – Trish Rankin


Trish Rankin – Dairy Woman of the Year, New Zealand

Case Study Questions

Farm type and location
450 Cow Sharemilking position, South Taranaki

Has the Trusti colostrum system helped you manage your gold colostrum?

The system was excellent for both managing fresh colostrum to be stored and in having on hand a supply of quality colostrum in the fridge ready to be warmed up again when you needed it.

Why is proper gold colostrum management important to you?

No one likes to spend hours and money on sick calves or see them fail to thrive. Science shows the first 24hours is the key time to do the very best for them.

A few years ago, I did a Vet seminar about doing better with colostrum. From that we bought brix refractometer and antahi tube feeders. Lifechanging… we would measure day 1 calved cows using the brix straight from their teat. Mark the cows with shaving foam that measured over 22 (brix unit) and only test bucket those cows keeping the very best colostrum only and bulk pooling the rest.

Interestingly – we found only about 20-30% of the cows calving would have brix over 22… which means people who save the first milking colostrum are likely collecting colostrum on average that falls below the 22.. required. For example, one day we had 11 cows calve, tested them all, only 3 cows had over 22 brix measurement. We were able to get their gold colostrum and tube all 11 calves the high quality colostrum.

We are hooked on measuring colostrum and tubing every calf (bobbies included) that is born.

How has the Trusti colostrum bags and/or Pasteur system helped you achieve optimum colostrum management?

We had a pretty good system of measuring and collection but some days we would have 40-50 litres of gold colostrum that we would have to store (using potass sorbate in a bucket)… but now we can pasturise the colostrum and ensure a better lifespan and protect all the good antibodies in there.

How have you incorporated the Trusti system into your calving?

Initially I did set out to try and pasturise every drop of colostrum and feed only pasturised to all calves. This became unmanageable on big days where i might have 50 litres or 20 plus calves.

So I moved to tubing fresh colostrum (22 brix measured, warm) to new calves in the morning and pasturising all excess colostrum. Doing it this way meant that in the afternoon ( we did two or three pickups of calves a day) , i had a supply of bagged, pasturised colostrum that I could quickly warm up and feed to calves. Much more manageable than having a bucket stored to stir, that you would have to use a jug to fill up a bottle and then heat up … all I had to do was go to the fridge, grab a bag, and that was enough to do two (jerseys 10% body weight about 2 litres each).

Do you have any additional tips around gold colostrum management for fellow farmers?

It pays off… At the very end I did get a three calves pick up some sort of bug, but that was all I had the whole time. Our employee had come from a big farm where there was a lot of sickness and a high death rate – but they didnt use a gold colostrum system that we use. She was convinced of our good efforts paying off!

It is worth the extra effort. With 450 cows it wasnt manageable to feed pasturised to all calves all the time – it was possible to use it to store the excess and always have some on hand.