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Holiday Office Closure

We would like to thank all our customers for their business throughout the year of 2019. We wish you a very happy holiday season and a prosperous new year.


Office close down period  – Closing Monday 23rd December at 5.30pm and will reopen on Thursday 2nd Jan at 8.30am.  Last dispatch Friday 20th December.  First dispatch Monday 6th January 2020.  For anything urgent during this period, please email


Bud Guard spray for post debudding  is the latest new product from Provita Animal Health.

Bud Guard 500ml contains organic acids and essential oils (antibacterial and antifungal properties).  It is antibiotic free and It contains a unique film-forming agent that creates a water-proof barrier to help prevent contamination and aid quick healing.  The physical barrier from the spray helps to seal the area and reduce bleeding, if accidentally hit by calves when returned to pens or pasture.  For use once calf has been properly debudded with hot iron under anaesthesia.  It is simple to use, spray until area is sufficiently covered.


Horned cattle are a major management problem on farm, causing significant risks for both handlers and other stock.  Therefore calves should be debudded as soon as possible to avoid unnecessary dehorning procedures undertaken by vets only.  Dehorning does carry greater risks due to handling and side effects like cattle not thriving as well after due to the pain and stress.

Debudding is less likely to see regrowth of horn tissue as smaller buds are easier to remove completely by hot iron which is the preferred method.  Also there will be less problems and impact on thrift after debudding younger calves as appropriate anaesthesia and pain relief under adequate restraint can be done easily.

Written by George Shaw, Technical Adviser.  FREEPHONE 0800 328 4982

Vital Boost: OVER 3 litres of milk EXTRA at 60 DIM


South Tyrone, 220 cow dairy herd, all year round calving.

100 cows or heifers (1st to 7th lactation animals) recruited to the trial between November 2018 and March 2019.  50 cows would receive Vital Boost feed and 50 cows would receive nothing. All cows got same feeding, housing, vaccinations and other routine management.  The milk yield and fertility parameters for followed for each cow or heifer with the following results recorded:

  • Milk yield results showed that cows that received Vital Boost at calving on average produced an EXTRA 2.8L OF MILK at 30 DAYS IN MILK and an EXTRA 3.3L of MILK at 60 DAYS IN MILK compared to cows that did not receive anything.
  • In terms of fertility, the average number of AI services (mix of semen, dairy and beef semen) needed for another confirmed pregnancy was:
    • services for Vital Boost treated heifers/cows compared to;
    • services for untreated heifers/cows
  • 62% cows given Vital Boost after calving were in calf again after 1st service compared to only 44% cows that were given nothing.

Dairy Winter Housing: Getting on Top of Lameness and Keeping it Low

Andrew Dale milks 110 Fleckvieh and Fleckvieh-cross cows near Limavady in partnership within his parents.  Rolling yields are around 6,500 litres with the aim to breakthrough 7,000 litre threshold soon.  The farm is focused on maximising output from forage with extended grazing and quality silage made.  Zero grazing has been introduced in the past two years to help achieve this aim on this fragmented farm.  In Spring 2017, Andrew identified a build-up of Digital Dermatitis (DD) related lameness and levels were unacceptably high for him. He contacted Provita and availed of the complimentary parlour and mobility scoring.  After the cows were scored it was confirmed that DD was indeed high with 70% of cows displaying various stages of DD.  Andrew was committed to reducing this figure by all means necessary.

Initially the cows were spot sprayed with Hoofsure Endurance at 25% dilution for 2 weeks followed by daily footbathing.  “We could see rapid progress within a few weeks, initially the active stages dropped down to 35%, and then further to 5% to 10%” confirmed Andrew. “We now manage to keep levels to this low percentage the majority of the year, with small intermittent rises when in the middle of autumn peak calving and full time winter housing commences.  But I know by keeping an eye on it, spraying more cows in the parlour, increasing the footbath frequency I get on top of it quickly.  Currently I am running the footbath daily at 2-3% as I have numerous freshly calved and early lactation cows going through which I want to keep right from day 1 and I know it will pay off as the winter months pass.”  Andrew has also noticed that the cows mobility is much improved, they are much more settled in the parlour and at the feed bunk and he has culled less cows due to lameness also.

Milking cows are footbathed 5-7 days per week and dry cows and heifers at least once a week. Andrew commented, “by regularly footbathing the dry cows and heifers has made a big difference and was quite easy to implement.  I now see less problems with freshly calved animals with DD and lameness and cows calf down with less problems too.  We have new heifer accommodation built on farm for this Autumn and I have made arrangements to have footbathing facilities in it.”

At the start of the programme back in 2017 there was a fair investment made in the product but by sticking with the recommendations we have seen very good results. I find the contact from Provita staff beneficial as it is an extra incentive to make sure you stick to the plan so that you don’t allow the DD levels to start to increase again. Also a fresh set of eyes can see things that you miss whenever you are trying to juggle all the various jobs that need done on a daily basis around the farm. With the feet right, the cows are performing better, overall health is very good and I believe every animal is nearing their full potential. I am now in the fortunate position where I can be more selective in breeding strategy as I can afford to let go of under-performing cows and hit the herd target of 7,000 litres per cow sooner rather than later.”

For more information please contact George Shaw, Technical Adviser on 078 4192 6219 or Provita on 0800 328 4982.

Be ready with the best RESPONSE to calf scour this Autumn and Winter period

The autumn calving season is well under way and unfortunately many herds will be forced to calf inside and remain inside for longer periods due to the unforgiving weather and grazing conditions.  Keeping newly born calves in at this time is certainly sensible but it could bring unwanted disease challenges in the incoming days and weeks as calving environments become repeatedly used and cattle numbers increase in the same space.  So it may seem the initial weeks of calving period are “easier”, with little issues to report, but this can quickly switch once calving numbers peak and environmental pressures of scouring causes bugs to reach levels able to cause infections.  Therefore appropriate management is needed to mitigate these circumstances.


Provita Response range contains beneficial bacteria, similar to Provita’s licensed Protect probiotic POM-VPS, egg powder, vitamins and energy.  It is available in 3 different delivery methods; Response Paste, Response Capsules and Response Powder.  The Response range is particular useful at birth and initial weeks of life for calves to boost gut health and survival.  It is particular useful in the following groups: premature, hard or prolonged calving, multiples, during scour outbreak, adopted or bought-in calves.

Provita’s Response range can be used during periods on farm when disease outbreaks traditionally occur.  Invariably this will happen between 7-14 days of age and it is not coincidental.  This is during a time when there is an immunity gap for the calf, when passive immunity from the maternal colostrum weans and the calf slowly starts to build up its own acquired immunity.  This “immunity gap” is a high risk period for infection so calves will need particular attention to push them through this period with no setbacks.

Dave Johnson from Harcourt Farm in Shrewsbury has been milking cows for 20 years.  He uses Provita Response calf paste on all his calves as soon as they are born. He explains that he does so to cut down his use of antibiotics and rehydration products – his motto is ‘Prevention is better than cure’.    Dave values his young stock and rears all his own heifers and believes that Provita Response calf paste gives them the best start.

Andrew Ladds from Benson Hall Farm in Kendal, Cumbria is also an advocate of Provita Response calf paste.  Milking 150 Dairy cows and keeping all his calves means he requires a product to counteract common deficiencies that can cause calf scour.  Andrew explains that he has learnt the hard way by losing two valuable calves when he switched to a different paste and now insists on Provita Response paste. He gives all his calves Provita Response paste as soon as they are born and it works to help keep them clear of scour.

Dairy farmer Emma Roskilly from Cornwall states, “I swear by Provita Response Paste. We have tried other products but none proved as effective. We now use it to give our calves a boost after scours, in stressful times like weaning and as an insurance policy to ensure that our calf survival rate is as high as possible.”

For more information contact George Shaw, Technical Adviser on 078 4192 6219 or Provita on 0800 328 4982.


£2 per head for winter period to improve performance in your herd

The autumn months can certainly be a busy period with suckler calf sales, housing of livestock and the slurry spreading deadline approaching.  This year is very different to 2018’s ‘back end’ with more unsettled weather, heavy bursts of rain and deteriorating ground conditions for nearly all parts of the country.  Although grazing cover in some areas is still good, the poorer weather makes performance gains harder to achieve and most farms will be looking to commence housing, or indeed have housed cattle already.

Problems from a variety of sources which cause disease outbreaks like pneumonia and dysentery can occur as different batches of cattle are housed and mixed and additional animals are bought-in, along with the sudden changing of the forage type from fresh to ensiled grass.  Therefore there is a need for good farm management practices to prevent outbreaks.  In terms of housing, it should be free from draughts, well ventilated, clean and dry, comfortable and properly stocked.  A major factor in the spread of infection is poor ventilation, where inadequate air movement results in stale, humid air conditions in which pathogenic organisms thrive. The chance of these problems occurring can be reduced by maintaining good air quality.


One method of improving air quality in livestock buildings is by fogging the air over the animals with Provita Promist, with the use of a mechanical fogger.  The natural organic acids in Provita Promist lower the environmental pH providing an environment inhibitory to pathogens.  It also reduces atmospheric dust and ammonia levels to improve the overall air quality.  Typically 25 litres of Promist can be used to fog housing for 100 cattle and only costs £2 per head for the housing period.  Promist is used regularly across Great Britain and Northern Ireland.


Large calf rearing unit

Approximately 2000 calves per year are reared on the farm and Promist is used to fog houses as calves arrive on farm as they come from many different sources so are exposed to a mixture of various airborne pathogens.  Before the use of Promist it was estimated 50% of the calves needed to be given an antibiotic for respiratory-related infections. Since using Provita Promist regularly, the effect was immediate and a significant improvement in the air quality resulted in only 5% of calves needing an antibiotic; this is a 90% reduction!

Mixed beef enterprise

Provita Promist is used to fog sheds when weanlings, young stores, finishers and suckler cow groups are housed from late September to early November.  The results are very noticeable when mixing various batches of cattle in the same air space as no groups develop acute coughs upon housing.  This means cattle settle quicker into the housing environment and has little impact on daily liveweight gains. The respiratory health of bought-in calves has also been greatly improved with use of Provita Promist.

Autumn calving herd

The farm has always favoured a “prevention rather than cure approach” to all matters of animal health.  With respect to this, the farm was advised to use Provita’s Promist product in the sheds as soon as the cattle are housed. It is used on a daily basis in the calf shed for the first month or so after housing and the results have been tremendous.  Respiratory related cases are kept to an absolute minimum and calves respond with excellent growth rates over 1kg per day being achieved.  Once calves settle into the winter housing, the frequency of fogging is cut back slightly.  This farm would “recommend the use of Promist to all farmers rearing calves and, particularly, on those farms where the risk of young stock taking pneumonia is high.”

For more information or to arrange an on-farm demonstration of Promist contact George Shaw, Technical Adviser on 078 4192 6219 or Provita on 0800 328 4982.



Rehydration and scour recovery


Calf scour is still the most common disease in young unweaned calves accounting for 50% of all calf deaths (ADAS Report).  Prevention of calf scour outbreaks requires implementation of good farm management practices.  This would include supply of high quality colostrum, be that maternal or branded replacer, timely vaccination of the mother against known scouring causing agents and administration of a medicinally licensed probiotic, Provita Protect POM-VPS.

Despite best practices and management, calf scour can still occur, therefore it is imperative to monitor calves daily to make swift interventions if required.

Rehydration and scour recovery

Calves can lose 5 to 10% of their body weight in water within 1 day of scouring.  To put this into context, fluid loss in excess of 8% requires intravenous (IV) drip treatment, highlighting importance of timely electrolyte intervention at first observation of illness as this will lend itself towards quickest recovery.  Early signs of dehydration include dullness, lack of appetite, watery stools that may be brown, grey, green or yellow in colour and development of sunken-eyed appearance as they become more dehydrated.

So for rehydration of the scouring calf, firstly make sure calves are strong enough to take an oral electrolyte with some desire to drink and a good swallowing reflex.  If calves appear weaker than this then IV therapy from your vet may be the best option.

Not electrolytes are made equal!

  • All electrolytes should have:
  • a readily available source of energy like glucose or dextrose;
  • electrolytes like sodium, potassium and chloride to replace lost electrolytes;
  • buffering agents to correct any acidosis;
  • amino acids like glutamine or glycine to improve water and electrolyte uptake by the body.
  • Other additives in electrolytes that can be added:
  • vitamins and minerals to correct any deficiencies due to scouring;
  • probiotics or prebiotics to replenish beneficial bacteria in the gut;
  • gelling agents to help delay passage of fluid in the gut to give more time for nutrient absorption

Prolyte Extra contains all of the aforementioned ingredient groups, at the correct levels, to aid in the quick recovery of scouring calves.  Prolyte Extra is formulated comprehensively to make a complete electrolyte so that the scouring calf gets everything it requires.

Re-establishment of gut health after scour

At times of stress e.g. scouring, the calf gut is very susceptible to an imbalance in gut bacteria composition. During this stress the trend is that the beneficial bacteria (like that contained in Provita’s Protect and Prolyte Extra) will decrease, whereas disease-causing bacteria like E. coli, has the opportunity to proliferate and cause further problems.

Therefore administration of beneficial bacteria to scouring/stressed calves seeks to re-establish the natural protective gut bacteria and return the animal to its normal nutritional, growth and health status as quickly as possible.


Provita has completed work to evidence the effectiveness of an electrolyte solution along with a probiotic in scour recovery. In published clinical report commissioned by Provita, results demonstrated that Protect and Prolyte Extra:

  1. Demonstrated a quicker recovery time in scouring calves;
  2. Accelerated the recovery of body condition to a normal healthy state in scouring calves;
  3. Treated scouring calves and proved to be as effective as the use of antibiotics

Milk feeding with Prolyte Extra

Calves should be fed milk as normal and beef calves allowed to suckle their mothers, along with supplemental feeds of Prolyte Extra.  Prolyte Extra can also be mixed with whole milk which invariably done on days 3 and 4 of treatment to finish the electrolyte administration course.

The withdrawal of milk is now contraindicated, as it results in malnourishment and weight loss in vulnerable calves that have poorly-developed fat stores.  Continued milk feeding not only provides the energy required for weight gain and growth throughout the period of scour, but also provides the nutrients that are necessary for the recovery of the intestinal mucosa.

ProVitaMin Sheep – Read what satisfied flock owners have to say

“Split flock trials showed a 10-15% increase in lambs scanned using ProVitaMin in comparison to our previously preferred drench.”

“ProVitaMin drench is used pre-tupping and on all lambs before weaning to boost weight gain and overall condition for show and sales.  It is a versatile drench and with the small volume application a bottle goes a long way.”

“The flock was split into two groups – the ewes drenched with ProVitaMin tupped several days before those tupped with the competitor product. The ProVitaMin drench was much easier to use as it was a smaller amount given.”

“The results obtained with ProVitaMin were nothing short of remarkable.  Of the two ewes flushed that year, one produced 25 embryos which the other produced 19.  Subsequent to this 23 of the embryos produced were implanted into commercial recipients leading to 18 lambs scanned.  Also used on all the flock, fertility has dramatically improved.”

“The first round of ProVitaMin drench helps boost ewe fertility levels while the second acts to increase lamb vitality. I also ensure that the ewes selected for AI receive the mineral and vitamin boost.  All the lambs get ProVitaMin prior to weaning. This ensures that growth rates are not reduced, once they are taken off their mothers.”

“Using ProVitaMin has boosted ewe and lamb performance in terms of fertility and growth rate. This has resulted in an extra ½ lamb per ewe sold for us this year.”

Lameness: a critical issue for ewe and lamb health

Lameness negatively impacts not only welfare but sheep performance too.  Persistent lameness can lead to reduced weight gain, metabolic diseases in pregnant ewes, reduced birthweight of lambs, mis-mothering and poor colostrum production by ewes (Harwood et al., 1997; Henderson, 1990).   The subsequent cost alone of lameness to the sheep industry is estimated to be €5 million annually.  Footrot is the most common cause of lameness and is present on over 90% of farms.  Other common conditions implicated in lameness include scald and contagious ovine digital dermatitis (CODD).  Scald, which is a precursor to footrot, is often characterised by reddening and loss of hair between the hooves; it can be easily controlled by appropriate foot bathing.  Farmers who implement an effective footbathing and topical application plan will benefit from a reduction in lameness and increase in profits.  Correct diagnosis should be performed by veterinary practitioner.

Sheep Footbathing – Use a tried and tested Solution

A comparative bioassay in a study by Queens University Belfast indicated that Provita Hoofsure Endurance was most effective in destroying bacteria, even in the presence of contamination.  Its antibacterial activity is more effective than the most commonly used copper sulfate and formaldehyde.  The study also confirmed that 400 sheep passes can be achieved through a 100 litre footbath provided depth is maintained.  In a separate independent clinical study from a renowned bio-sciences institute on the effectiveness of footbath solutions in sheep found that 65% of sheep improved after one pass through a footbath containing Hoofsure Endurance at 2% dilution rate.


Sheep Topical Application

Effective topical products play an important role in a lameness control plan.  For larger and more chronic lesions, Hoofsure Konquest can be used.  Provita developed Hoofsure Konquest hoof gel in conjunction with Queens University Belfast.  Konquest hoof gel is a concentrated proprietary blend of organic acids and essential oils.  It is formulated to possess bio-adhesive and potent penetrating action so it sticks to the skin and hoof and effectively gets to the source of infection.


Hoofsure Combat is a unique film-forming spray which provides long-lasting activity and aids the healing process.  For use on scald and to decrease re-infection, a high number of applications is available in each bottle making it cost-effective.  Both Konquest and Combat are anti-biotic and copper free!


Written by George Shaw, MPharm MPSNI, Technical Adviser,, 07841 926219.  References available on request

For more information FREEPHONE 0800 328 4982 or


ProVitaMin Sheep Drench is champion for top Suffolk breeder

The month of August is nearly behind us and pedigree sheep sales have commenced with good trade seen for quality, well-bred stock.  Preparations for 2020 lambing season are certainly in full swing with the acquisition of sought after bloodlines for both pedigree and commercial breeders.  With planning ongoing on the breeding side, consideration should be given to the animal health planning now prior to breeding, with results carrying through to lambing time. Vitamin and mineral status of breeding ewes, and do not forget rams, will impact on scanning rates and lambing spread.  Therefore application of a quality vitamin and mineral like ProVitaMin Sheep drench will boost these parameters.William Tait breeds pedigree Suffolk sheep near the Gortin Glen, Co. Tyrone under the flock prefix of Burnview.  William breeds a select batch of approximately 60 ewes every year with the view to selling 50 rams and 50 females each year.  His aim is to take a pen to Kelso and Stirling sales, locally at Ballymena export sale and some of his very best across to the National Suffolk show in Shrewsbury each year.  William is a definitely a seasoned participant in Suffolk shows and sales, taking multiple prizes at Balmoral Show 2019.  He was extremely pleased to be placed Reserved Champion at the National Show this past July, which later went for 6,600gns when the hammer fell.  This ram lamb was 6th place at the Balmoral Show 2019 and is a full brother of the 10,000gns Burnview Bombay Sapphire sold at Stirling in 2018.

This small extract evidences the quality of sheep kept by William.  To take full advantage of these bloodlines, a good portion of the Burnview ewes will be bred by AI and others flushed for embryos to transfer to recipients. William was keen to point out, “this type of breeding practice is fairly  expensive and time-consuming, so to maximise the success rates and get the best returns we consciously drench ewes with ProVitaMin Sheep drench before AI, flushing and embryo transfer. Since using the drench the results have been excellent and we contribute a lot of the success to the healthy vitamin/mineral status of our sheep with ProVitaMin use.”  William continued, “ProVitaMin Sheep drench is also used on all lambs before weaning and thereafter to boost weight gain and overall condition so they are in the best shape for shows and sales.  It is a versatile drench and with the small volume application a bottle goes a long way.”

ProVitaMin Sheep drench is manufactured in Provita’s feed approved facility in Omagh, only a small number of miles from the Burnview flock.  ProVitaMin Sheep Drench contains 24 vitamins and minerals in a concentrated mixture (10ml maximum feed per ewe) for ease-of-use and value for money. Each vitamin and mineral is carefully sourced so they are of the highest quality and, importantly available in a form that will be readily absorbed by the animal for maximum effects.

Users of ProVitaMin continue to see fantastic results which is well received by George Shaw, Technical Adviser.  “It is very pleasing to see local farmers like William Tait reaping the benefits of Provita’s vitamin/mineral drenches.  William and everyone involved at Burnview flock put a lot of effort into the breeding, preparation and showing of their sheep and from these results it is paying dividends.  Using ProVitaMin Sheep drench is a small part of that management but it is having big results. It would be fair to say that if you put quality stock and quality products together, you will get a winning result!”

Written by George Shaw, MPharm MPSNI, Technical Adviser,, 07841 926219.

For more information FREEPHONE 0800 328 4982 or