New Colostrum Quality Refractometer from ATAGO Trumps Traditional Colostrometers

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ATAGO's PEN-Harvest digital dip-style refractometer makes colostrum management quicker and easier, giving dairy farmers a fantastic alternative to colostrometers.

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There is a documented and well-studied correlation between Brix and the amount of beneficial antibodies in colostrum.

Colostrometers, aka colostrum hydrometers, have been the traditional instrument used to determine colostrum quality for decades. However, these tools are far from perfect, and other instruments, namely refractometers, have become much better alternatives in colostrum management tools.

Let's start with the fact that colostrometers are very fragile. Plainly stated, these instruments are long, thin glass tubes that break easily if dropped or bumped. Even people who consider themselves careful with such delicate instruments still need to take extra caution. Second, colostrum hydrometers require a large amount of sample to take a measurement, enough to keep the instrument afloat. And if the hydrometer breaks while floating in the colostrum, all of it has to be thrown out. Third, colostrometers are unable to compensate for temperature, meaning that the user must let colostrum reach room temperature before an accurate measurement can be taken. To top it all off, hydrometers are only as accurate as your eye's ability to read a fine gradient line or distinguish colors. In other words, they're fallible to subjectivity between users.

Thankfully, there is an instrument that takes care of all these concerns, the PEN-Harvest. Unlike the other digital refractometers flooding the market, this instrument dips directly into colostrum samples, but only about 1/4" of room is needed. It takes an instant digital reading that eliminates user subjectivity. Furthermore, less than a teaspoon of colostrum is enough to get an accurate quality measurement. The PEN-Harvest automatically compensates for temperature from 50-212°F, so even fresh colostrum can be measured without waiting for it to cool.

But can refractometers really be used in place of colostrometers to test the quality of colostrum? The answer is, "Absolutely!" Colostrometers measure the specific gravity of colostrum to estimate the amount of antibodies. This is possible because there is a known correlation between the two. Refractometers do the same, except via light refraction and the "Brix" scale, which is widely used across many agricultural commodities. There is a documented and well-studied correlation between Brix and the amount of beneficial antibodies in colostrum. Generally, colostrum over 22 Brix is considered good for the first feeding of calves. The Journal of Dairy Science found digital ATAGO refractometers to be a very effective way to measure quality.

So, instead of breaking 2 or 3 more colostrum hydrometers in the next few months, why not pick up just one digital refractometer to make your testing easier for years to come?

ATAGO has been making precision optical instruments for over 70 years and is a purveyor of quality worldwide. All instruments are 100% designed and manufactured in Japan and are backed up by our high level of customer service. ATAGO has a strong foothold in both the dairy and agriculture industries, and refractometers like the PEN-Harvest were developed with these unique needs in mind.

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Tamae Avis
ATAGO U.S.A. INC.
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