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Evaluation of colostrum IgG concentration 

Country: France

Dairy or/and meat sheep: both

Source of information: UMT SPR and CIIRPO

Level of solution:






Just Being Tested


Aim: to evalutate the IgG concentration of colostrum using on-farm inexpensive practical tools


  • The IgG concentration is estimated on farm with either:
    • Brix refractometer (optical or digital)
    • Colostrometer
  • The colostrum sample should be done within 4 hours after lambing
  • a A4 sheet which describes how to use these tolls and proposes decision thresholds to grade colostrum quality from poor to excellent


Expected benefits:

Colostrum: selection of good quality colostrum to be kept frozen and to be delivered to lambs whose ewe does not have enough production. Improves the transfer of passive immunity in lambs.

Prerequisites and/or limits (knowledge, training, capabilities, cost, management, facilities, equipment, etc.): buying a brix refractometer (optical or digital), making colostrum samples shortly after lambing. 


Tips and Tricks


QUIGLEY, J.D., LAGO, A., CHAPMAN, C., ERICKSON, P. and POLO, J., 2013. Evaluation of the Brix refractometer to estimate immunoglobulin G concentration in bovine colostrum. Journal of Dairy Science. February 2013. Vol. 96, no. 2, p. 1148–1155

BIELMANN, V., GILLAN, J., PERKINS, N.R., SKIDMORE, A.L., GODDEN, S. and LESLIE, K.E., 2010. An evaluation of Brix refractometry instruments for measurement of colostrum quality in dairy cattle. Journal of Dairy Science. August 2010. Vol. 93, no. 8, p. 3713–3721; CHIGERWE M, TYLER, JW., MIDDLETON, JR., SPAIN, JN., DILL, JS. and STEEVENS, BJ., 2008. Comparison of four methods to assess colostral IgG concentration in dairy cows. Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association. 2008. Vol. 233, no. 5, p. 761–766.

Expected impacts:










Colostrum issues: (e.g. quantity, quality and intake)

Solution No/Name

evaluation of colostrum IgG concentration

Service provider/technicians+vet or farmers


Benefit expected

Increase productivity
Less mortality


Is the solution suitable for various production systems



If no – for which system




What are the asset costs


What are the maintenance costs


Any limits to its applicability





Work Load



Service provider/tech.-vet-others

How much time is required to prepare and implement the solution

<1 day

<1 day

How many people is needed to implement the solution?




How long it takes to get results?


How long it takes to see  an effect on sheep productivity?

current production period




Service provider/technicians-vet-others

What kind of equipment/tool are necessary?

 Digital or optical refractometer


Skill/Knowledge-Training (farmer)

Does the solution need any specific skill/knowledge or training?

See once how to do
Knowlegde of the decision threshold

How much time will be required for training

<1 day

Wider Environment

Is there any particular regulation link to the solution?


Does the solution need any particular structure or organisation?


Other Comments









Solution No/Name


Farmer/Service provider/technicians-vet-others

1 F

3 A

Why did you select this solution?

 To check the colostrum quality et adapt the quantity/lamb. To control the lamb passive immunity

Was it easy to implement?

Yes, except if the lambing is outside

If not say what are the identified drawbacks?

If the lambing is outside, implementation may be much more difficult to do, according to contention and climatic conditions.

Did you need to adapt it?

Yes, but explanations of basic knowledge is sometimes required

If yes, how?

References for each breed

Were you happy with the outcome of the solution?

very happy

What were the outcomes?

Identify the ewes with good colostrum quality

Identify nutrition issues

Have stronger lambs, less mortality

Score the solution

Interesting and easy to implement

Will you continue to implement it?


If not, for which reasons?



There is a big difference between the ewes lambing inside and outside.

It is good to compare the ewes. A good indicator of ewes nutrition.

To be recommended to other farmers, need training and transfer to the sector, should be included as a common practice in the flock. Improving colostrum and hygiene is encouraged to fight pathological problems.

Easy to implement.

Colostrum should be pasteurized.


Testimony from Irish farmers:

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Testimony from UK adviser:

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