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How to mix potassium sorbate for colostrum preservation

Jul 28, 2016 | Dairy, Young Stock

Potassium sorbate is a chemical preservative and if used correctly will inhibit bacterial growth in colostrum and milk
Potassium sorbate can also be used to preserve antibody levels in ‘gold’ (first milking) colostrum as well as preventing bacterial proliferation.

Potassium sorbate comes in a granulated powder form. It needs to be mixed up as a 50% solution before you can use it; (for example 2kg to 4 litres of tap water). Add granules to water not water to granules.

Add this 50% mixture to your colostrum at a rate of 1%; so if you have 400 litres in your drum, you will need 4 litres of Potassium sorbate solution.

Treat each additional volume of colostrum with 1% Potassium sorbate before you add it to your vat. Do not use any Potassium sorbate that has been mixed up for more than a week.

Warning: Overdosing potassium sorbate to the colostrum may cause adverse cardiac reactions in the calves

  • Avoid inhalation of Potassium Sorbate power
  • Use ONLY FOOD GRADE Potassium Sorbate and VERY CLEAN water
  •  ALL equipment MUST be clean and sterile.

How to make a 50% solution from potassium sorbate granules 


  • Safety (Safety glasses, dust mask, latex gloves)
  • Potassium Sorbate (Preferably granules)
  • Water (Very clean, you would drink it)
  • Scales (Accurate)
  • Liquid holding container with millilitre measurements (Very clean, Food Grade plastic or stainless steel with lid)
  • Stirrer (Stainless steel)

Directions:  Add granules to water not water to granules.


Adding 1% Potassium Sorbate (50% solution) to colostrum 

  • Use ONLY CLEAN FRESH colostrum as potassium sorbate only inhibits bacteria growth.
    Colostrum already contaminated will remain contaminated
  • The 1% potassium sorbate MUST be mixed thoroughly throughout the colostrum to work
  • Colostrum container MUST have a loose fitting lid

When BULK storing colostrum

  • ADD 1% potassium sorbate (50% solution) to NEW colostrum batch FIRST then transfer to bulk storage vat)
    Better estimation of quantity (litres) of fresh colostrum – less likely to overdose bulk vat!
  • Refrigerate if possible
    Potassium sorbate plus refrigeration preserve colostrum better than potassium sorbate or refrigeration alone.

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