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Increasing numbers of milk producers are turning to colostrum replacements

The growing threat of Johne’s Disease in Northern Ireland is encouraging significant numbers of dairy farmers to offer bespoke colostrum replacements to newborn calves.

A case in point is Katesbridge milk producer John McGaffin, who farms with his father Hubert.

The pair milk 125, mainly autumn calving cows, a mix of Holstein and Ayrshires. The herd is currently averaging 8,800L per lactation, based on a three-times-per-day milking regime.

“The milking cows are currently receiving 2.8t of concentrates per lactation,” John confirmed.

“We aim to produce and rear all our own replacement heifers.”

The McGaffins are totally committed to giving all their calves the best possible start. But up until a few months ago, they were having a significant problem with ill thrift and premature deaths in the calf house.

John takes up the story:

“No matter what we tried, a significant number of the calves failed to meet the growth targets that we had set for them.

“Johne’s is a growing problem on dairy farms across Northern Ireland. But that issue aside, I was always concerned that the colostrum produced by our cows wasn’t up to spec on all occasions.”

He continued:

“Some months ago, the decision was taken to feed a bespoke colostrum concentrate to each newborn calf.

“On the back of the research carried out we opted to go with Provita’s Colostrum Concentrate.

“And we haven’t looked back since.

“Each calf born on the farm is now stomach tubed with the product immediately after birth. Making it up couldn’t be easier: it’s a case of mixing the powder with warm water, according to the straightforward instructions on the sachet.

“The calf then receives mother’s colostrum for the following couple of days, as would be the normal procedure with a freshly calved cows and her calf.”

According to John, the vitality of the calves receiving the Provita product has increased manifold since the new colostrum feeding regime was introduced.

He explained:

“The difference truly is day and night. Problems related to scours and pneumonias have fallen away to almost nothing.

“Opting to use the Provita Colostrum Concentrate was one of the best decisions that we have taken on the farm over recent years.”

Provita Colostrum Concentrate provides a high level of natural EU sourced colostrum, with added egg powder and vitamins carried in a nutritional energy source. It is formulated to supplement colostrum from the dam or where access to natural colostrum has not been possible.

The product is high in fat soluble vitamins A, D and E to compensate for the inefficient placental transfer of these vitamins. Its nutritional base provides instant and slow release energy allowing the calf to suckle quicker. Its easy-mix formula makes it fast and practical to use.

Provita technical advisor George Shaw was a recent visitor to the McGaffin farm.

He said:

 “The colostrum concentrate works at two levels. First off, it is a high quality product that has consistently proven itself on farms over many years. It provides newborn calves with the full levels of immunity that they need, in order to maximise health and performance levels in the weeks directly after birth.

“Significantly, the product also acts to break the Johne’s cycle within a herd. Newborn calves are exposed to infection from the get-go, courtesy of their mother’s colostrum, assuming the dam is a Johne’s carrier.”

George concluded:

“Provita Colostrum Concentrate is guaranteed Johne’s-free. Its use allows milk producers to provide newborn calves with an exceptional level of immunity without a reliance on mothers’ colostrum.

“Putting these animals on a subsequent milk replacer feeding programme should then act to completely break the Johne’s cycle within a herd.”

For further information, contact Provita on (028) 8225 2352 or visit: 

Production Manager

Role Production Manager  
Responsible To Managing Director  
Based At Omagh & Donaghcloney Sites  
Salary Competitive – based on experience  


Provita Eurotech Ltd is a privately owned company engaged in the development, manufacturing and marketing of natural animal health products.  We operate out of two sites from purpose-built GMP licensed facilities for the manufacture of animal health products.


  • Responsible for the development and implementation of activities in production area(s) to meet production goals, quality, and cost objectives. 
  • Prioritizes production schedules based on product introduction, equipment efficiency, and materials supply. 
  • Plans and administers procedures and budgets. 
  • Makes budgetary recommendations on capital expenditures and direct/indirect labour. 
  • Prepare and review department budgets and lead cost and efficiency improvement efforts with production as well as across the site as appropriate.
  • Maintain a high-level accountability to self and department to achieve on time, on budget, and high-quality work.
  • Selects and develops personnel to ensure the efficient operation of the production function. 
  • Build and maintain an environment of continuous improvement, by engaging all team members.
  • Partners with Operational Excellence team to lead the Lean Transformation journey.
  • Assist in the maintenance of a safe company culture by working within the company’s environmental, health and safety guidelines at all times and reporting any equipment or process problems in line with plant escalation procedures. 
  • Keep abreast of industry best practices and market changes.
  • Lead specific projects for the site in line with strategic focuses.
  • Partner with functional and plant leaders and collaborate to define and implement best practice initiatives.


  • 3rd level Qualification in Business, Engineering or a related field with emphasis in management. 
  • Six Sigma/Lean tools certified
  • Excel, Word, PowerPoint, PeopleSoft, BPCS an advantage
  • 10+ years of experience in Manufacturing or related field; preferably in a GMP medical manufacturing environment
  • Management experience (either Production, Engineering, Quality, etc.)
  • As a leader and manager you will be expected to be a role model in exhibiting plant key behaviours and fostering the development of Integrity, Excellence, Teamwork, and Accountability.


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Graphic Design & Digital Marketing Executive

Role Graphic Design & Digital Marketing Executive  
Responsible To Head of Marketing  
Based At Donaghcloney Site  
Salary Competitive – based on experience  


Provita Eurotech Ltd is a privately owned company engaged in the development, manufacturing and marketing of natural animal health products.  We operate out of two sites from purpose-built GMP licensed facilities for the manufacture of animal health products.


We are currently recruiting for a creative and dynamic Graphic Designer & Digital Marketing Executive .  The successful applicant will be responsible for all aspects of marketing graphic design and digital developments within the business.  From the creation of new marketing materials such as literature, advertising, social media, videos and website to creating and updating product packaging and label artwork.

  • Develop high quality, creative multi-channel marketing solutions in print and digital formats.
  • Work with a wide range of media, including photography, illustration, animation and video footage to deliver creative that is fresh, innovative and on-brand.
  • Aid in the development of the company’s social media platforms, including Facebook, Instagram and Linkedin.
  • Assist in developing and managing the Provita website, updating and creating new content regularly and analysing SEO performance.
  • Produce creative that simplifies technical complexity and enhances key messages.
  • Work with the Quality and Marketing teams to create and update product packaging artworks to meet market and regulatory requirements.
  • Play a lead role as a brand champion for design across the company, contributing to the ongoing development of the company visual identity.
  • Build, maintain and promote positive, collaborative and close working relationships with internal and external stakeholders.
  • Liaise with agency partners, printers and suppliers were required to produce and print materials


  • 2+ years in a graphic design role.
  • Highly competent with the Adobe Creative Suite, particularly Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign.
  • Experience in website CRM systems, Google Analytics and Social Media.
  • Experience in developing, deploying and evaluating digital marketing and promotional campaigns.
  • Forward- thinking, ‘can-do’, positive attitude.
  • Enjoy working in a fast-paced environment, running multiple projects concurrently and often operating to tight deadlines.
  • Be a natural problem solver and clear visual communicator, with the ability to take complex information and present it in appealing and understandable ways in a variety of formats to technical and non-technical audiences.
  • Strong organisational and communication skills.
  • Excellent attention to detail.
  • Effective project management and time management skills in order to meet deadlines.


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