Higher prices being offered for colostrum this calving season have
raised concerns that dairy farmers may skimp on feeding the valuable
liquid to calves.
Colostrum is taken from the first four or five milkings after birth
and the high level of immunoglobins which protect against infection
makes it essential food for newborn calves, including calves sold by
dairy farmers to be reared for beef.
But the same active ingredients have made it keenly sought after
overseas in the health food sector, and for pharmaceutical use. At
the top end of the market in China, colostrum can sell for $1 a gram
in its pure powder form - $1000 a kg.
Fonterra has raised the price by 5 per cent to $168 a kg for 0.75 per
cent strength colostrum, with a premium for higher strength
colostrum. It has also started collecting earlier than planned in the
North Island - farms in the Waikato, Bay of Plenty, Manawatu and
Hawkes Bay - and is collecting for the first time from Canterbury,
Otago and Southland.
Eric and Helen Pidduck, who run one of New Zealand's biggest calf-
rearing operations in Koromatua, 14km southwest of Hamilton, said
they were concerned the temptation might be too much for some
"We are very concerned that the amount that has been offered for the
purchase of colostrum is going to affect the quality of care that
calves get on farms - particularly if they take the best colostrum,"
said Mrs Pidduck.
She said calves deprived of colostrum never really recovered.
This [video footage from the movie Babe] is the way Americans want to
think of pigs. Real-life "Babes" see no sun in their limited lives,
with no hay to lie on, no mud to roll in. The sows live in tiny
cages, so narrow they can't even turn around. They live over metal
grates, and their waste is pushed through slats beneath them and
flushed into huge pits.
--Morley Safer, Pork Power, 60 Minutes, 9/19/97
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