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Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Tailgate Lectures: The winner receives immunity...

I love watching Top Chef and one of the infamous lines that comes out of host Padma's mouth is, "...and the winner will receive immunity."

Immunity is important in the game of Top Chef because if won, in the first round Quick Fire challenge, the contestant can not be eliminated in the second round Elimination challenge. If I were on Top Chef, I would definitely want IMMUNITY!

With calving season approaching back home and in full swing for many producers right now, I can think of a lot of ways IMMUNITY could be useful.

I can remember checking on our momma cows with my Grandpa in the early hours of the morning. It was always important for us to stick around after a baby was born and make sure the calf was able to stand and suck milk from the cow's udder. Grandpa always preached to me about the importance of the immunity being passed from the momma cow to the baby calf. He always used to say that a calf without immunity from its mom is as good as dead.

Immunity, not in the form of a free pass to culinary stardom, but rather in the form of milk is referred to as colostrum.

What is colostrum, you say?

A calf nursing at Star Lake Ranch in Oklahoma

Colostrum is the cow's first milk. It is produced just prior to giving birth and is vital to the health of a baby calf. This milk provides a balance of immunological proteins that give the newborn calf the antibodies it needs. Cows don't pass these large molecules through the placenta to the fetus, so it is imperative that calves receive them orally.

Many veterinarians suggest that calves receive colostrum within 0-6 hours after being born. It is also suggested that the future performance of the calf is dependent on receiving colostrum as well. For more information on the importance of colostrum straight from a veterinarian, read this article from Beef Magazine.

The best part about colostrum is that it is FREE! Such an important piece in the production puzzle and it doesn't cost a dime!

Padma doesn't ever give a Top Chef immunity for free, but the 30.9 million beef cows in the US are giving it to every calf that hits the ground.

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