What’s the best way to store colostrum?

FarmIreland Team

Teagasc’s George Ramsbottom has recently reported on the best ways to store the valuable resource that is colostrum.

He says research at Teagasc Moorepark reported that 90% of Irish dairy producers store colostrum.

“Colostrum has traditionally been stored in a freezer, as this prevents changes in quality and growth of bacteria.

“However, defrosting colostrum can take more than an hour and if completed incorrectly can render the colostrum useless,” he said.


According to Ramsbottom, a good practice to follow is to submerge the sealed, frozen container in a bath of warm (not hot, body temperature) tap water until it thaws completely, stirring occasionally.

“Thawing time will vary depending on container size.

“A good option is to use freezer bags to store it as they take up less room in the freezer and have a greater surface area which means they should defrost faster.

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“About one in five farmers store colostrum at room temperature, or in a refrigerator, for up to one week.

“Storing colostrum at room temperature, particularly as the temperature increases in March, does not affect the quality (i.e., the antibody level) of colostrum, but bacterial numbers increase and the pH reduces.

“Calves fed colostrum with extremely high levels of bacteria absorb fewer antibodies, which can have implications for their health and well-being,” he said.

Ramsbottom said farmers can store fresh colostrum safely for up to two days in a fridge.

“Store it as soon as possible after collection because bacterial growth is highest in the first three to six hours after collection.

“And, make sure that the containers used to both collect and store it are thoroughly cleaned before use,” he advised.

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