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Tackle lameness before it hits your bottom line

The current grazing season has been a stark contrast to 2018 for many, with plentiful grass supplies available to grazed livestock throughout the country.  Even this can have its drawbacks, especially for lambs, with a greater likelihood of scald occurring.  Recent weeks have seen increased enquiries to Provita relating to sheep lameness and the Hoofsure range.  Unfortunately lamb prices lately have dropped but positively this past week that trend has reversed for a much needed lift.  That being said margins are tighter, therefore to carry any number of lame sheep will have a significant impact on profits due to treatment cost, reduction in weight gain and greater amount of days spent on farm.

Hoofsure Endurance can be used as a 25% topical spray in conjunction with or as an alternative to footbathing in dairy cattle.  Provita Konquest gel is a unique concentrated blend with potent penetrating action and advanced bio-adhesion properties.  It can be used with or without a bandage on those larger lesions.  Provita Combat is a unique film-forming spray which provides long-lasting activity and aids the healing process. It contains a unique blend of organic acids and essential oils for maximum effect.


Topical application – CATTLE

While footbathing plays a vital role in preventing many lameness conditions, topical applications to lesions are required where infection rates or pressure are high.  Even with an effective foot bathing programme, the incidence of Digital Dermatitis (DD) on any given farm will have intermittent spikes.  This may be due to stocking rate changes, increased calving periods, seasonal factors, etc.  The best way to manage lesions associated with DD is to identify them early and treat directly.  Early intervention prior to onset of lameness can resolve the lesion quickly and avoid much of the unnecessary associated economic loss.  For instance, a typical DD case will cost £99 per case (AHDB source) due to treatments costs, milk loss and reduced fertility performance. For immature lesions, Provita have developed a unique non-antibiotic spray, namely Hoofsure Combat.  This topical spray plaster acts rapidly on contact to form a waterproof film which seals out dirt and bacteria thus stopping re-infection while allowing natural healing.  This can be applied on consecutive days for up to 1 week as required.  Hoofsure Konquest gel is for those larger lesions (>2cm) which may require a light bandage application.  A 24 hour contact time with the infectious lesion is ample time for treatment and avoids leaving tight bandages on for longer than necessary which can have negative effects.  Also Konquest contains no antibiotics with the added benefit of no milk withdrawal period.

As Summer 2019 draws to an end (*sigh*) and we edge ever closer to autumn/winter rehousing, this presents an ideal opportunity to put in a concerted effort to tackle any lameness concerns.  This means farms will be starting from a healthy low base of lameness before housing, making it easier to reduce and manage any unwanted spikes.

Topical application – SHEEP

With recent guidance saying that foot trimming does not have a place for controlling infectious lameness in sheep (Farmers Weekly 26-7-19).  In fact latest research  has shown it may exacerbate the problem and lead to the spread of infectious bodies via equipment and between sheep.  Thus the use of effective topical treatments is more important, and Provita’s Combat spray and Konquest gel would have a role to play in any sheep lameness plan. The film-forming action of Combat makes it tremendously beneficial for scald treatment and prevents reinfection of area.  A high number of applications is available in each bottle making it cost-effective.  For those “harder to treat”, more chronic lesions, Konquest gel would be the chosen product. Available in 300g jars or 30g syringes for ease of use and works quickly to treat and reduce pain of lameness.

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

For more information FREEPHONE 0800 328 4982 or


Bud Guard 500ml New Product

NEW PRODUCT:  BUD GUARD for after debudding 

BUY 1 GET 1 FREE at participating outlets while stocks last

Bud Guard spray for after 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


Bank Holiday Closure

Provita Animal Health will be closed Thursday 11th and Friday 12th July, re-open Monday 15th July.

Maximising Ewe & flock performance with Provita Advance+ Silage Inoculant

Maximising Ewe & flock performance with Provita Advance+ Silage Inoculant

Every farmer would like control of factors beyond the farmgate, but this cannot be the case. With both beef and lamb prices volatile, there is obvious uncertainty what future prices.  Nevertheless the majority of farmers are resilient to this and been through this all before, and  now know to focusing on things within the farmgate to improve efficiencies and target better profitability.

John Martin runs a mixed enterprise at Gordonall farm, Greyabbey and focuses heavily on farm efficiency. When asked to summarise his management approach, John stated, “do it once and do it right, keep things simple and control what you can and pay attention to detail.” Gordonall is predominantly a sheep enterprise with 650 composite breeding ewes going to the ram, 17 acres of spring barley for on-farm feed and straw, and 38 acres of willow is grown as an alternative crop.  Also breeding dairy heifers from a neighbour were wintered on a bed and breakfast system.

Nutrition is the largest variable cost associated with sheep production, and so many sheep farmers like John Martin, seek to improve its management.  Like most traditional production systems, sheep nutrition has been based on a “least cost” system with the aim of minimising feeding costs without limiting production (in terms of ewe and lamb health, number of lambs born alive per ewe, and lamb growth rates).  Similar to the situation in dairy and beef herds, significant savings can be made in feed costs where forage quality is excellent, and good quality forage can be capable of meeting the energy and protein requirements of the ewe until the latter stages of pregnancy.

Grazing is in full swing with a rotational system employed at Gordonall.  Focus on grass quality does not stop there with a big emphasis by John placed on making the best quality grass silage each year.  Approximately a third of the farm is taken for a 1st cut silage. It is grazed first by the sheep and is closed off as early as possible. This produces a thick high-yielding high-quality sward.   John commented, “Sheep are very fussy about silage so it must be high quality. However you do need to control their intakes during the winter, as it is healthy for them to lose a little body condition (BCS), good coming up to lambing. We can certainly still do this with high quality silage fed to pregnant ewes based on required intakes relative to BCS.”

John took his 1st cut just after the first May Day Bank Holiday.  It was cut dry but unfortunately saw rain on the ground.  Nevertheless it was ensiled in good order and John was happy with the yield and quality.  John said, “he would prefer wet leafy silage to dry stemmy silage as it would still produce better results” and he went on to say, “grass should be cut when it is ready within reason.”  This must be a recipe for success as John was awarded 1st place in the UFU Silage Making Beef and Sheep category for the 2018 season. Well done John!

The cost between making good quality and poorer quality silage is not that different with similar fertiliser, contracting and cover costs.  The actual fact, real cost will come when it comes to feeding out that silage when lower daily liveweight gain is achieved from forage and more concentrates fed. For instance, high feed-value grass silage can reduce concentrate requirement by approximately 75% whilst maintaining animal performance,  So really what does make the real difference for silage quality is the cutting stage and the use, or not, of a good additive.  Additionally a good silage additive is only a small percentage of the total cost needed to make silage per tonne, therefore it will produce a beneficial return of investment.

One ingredient that has been ever present over the years for John Martin is Provita Advance+ silage inoculant. It supplies 1.2 million CFU’s per gram of forage of a unique triple strain bacterial mixture which is freshly blended at Provita’s Omagh facility.  Advance+ produces a rapid fermentation to reduce dry matter losses, increased sugar content, increased available energy and reduced unwanted spoilage to help at feedout.  This accumulates to produce a better quality forage that results in better animal performance.

John summarises the benefit of Advance, “We have had consistently good silage since using Advance+, even in wetter years or more difficult conditions. I am very happy to continue using Advance+ on future crops.”

For more info FREEPHONE 0800 328 4982.  Written by George Shaw, MPharm MPSNI, Technical Adviser,, 07841 926219




Provita at NSA Northern Ireland

Provita at NSA Sheep N.Ireland – Visit Stand 57 for Special Show Offers!

Provita Animal Health are delighted to be exhibiting at NSA Sheep Northern Ireland once again at Ballymena Livestock Mart for another fantastic event on Monday 1st July 2019.

ProVitaMin Sheep drench is an ultra-concentrated oral liquid to counteract deficiencies in sheep and lambs, and to boost fertility in ewes.  It provides 25 broad spectrum elements in a concentrated blend of chelated minerals for slow release and sustained benefit, and vitamins and trace elements for maximum bioavailability.  ProVitaMin is highly-concentrated meaning it is easier to administer and cost-effective.  ProVitaMin is available in Sheep drench with and without copper, and also a Cobalt, Selenium and B12 formulation in 3 pack sizes – 1 litre, 2.5 litre and 5 litre.

Your livestock can have access to the best available forage and feed, but if their vitamin and mineral status is off balance, they will not be utilising the nutrients from feed to its full potential.  Marginal trace element deficiencies can reduce growth, reproduction and impact health, even if few clinical signs of deficiency show.  With the grazing season now in full swing, it is never too late to think about the trace element status of your flock.  The more changeable and damper conditions of late impacts on vitamin and mineral availability from pasture.  The mineral content of grass will depend largely upon the mineral availability in the soil and the current soil pH.  Soil analysis is therefore required to accurately manage a grass sward for mineral and vitamin content.  If minerals are found to be deficient, it is certainly beneficial to provide livestock with supplementary vitamins and minerals.

Hoofsure Range: Lameness in sheep levels rise during the summer months due to the higher stocking rate, longer grass and damp conditions. On local sheep farms the main two causal agents of lameness are footrot and scald. These represent approximately 90% of all cases. The remaining 10% arise from various different infections and other causes such as injuries.  Farmers who change their management to include footbathing as part of a sheep lameness control plan will benefit from a reduction in lame sheep and a subsequent increase in profits.  An independent study on the effectiveness of footbath solutions for sheep with feet problems showed improvements after one pass through a footbath containing Provita Hoofsure Endurance 2%*

For sheep farmers, lameness is a huge welfare problem in flocks.  Recent studies have shown sheep lameness cases can cost up to £16.50 case.  90% of sheep lameness is caused by either scald or foot rot, both of which are manageable conditions.  As an industry, sheep farmers have been targeted to reduce overall flock lameness to below 5%; which will require a planned, concerted effort with using of an effective product range such as Provita’s Hoofsure Range.  For the sheep farmer, frequency of footbathing is key.  Typically footbath with Hoofsure Endurance at 1-2% dilution rate, every 2-4 weeks at grass between grazing rotations. If housed e.g. lambing or finishing lambs, it best to footbath weekly.  We often receive feedback from shepherds saying sheep lameness improved even after as little as 1-2 passes, highlighting the effectiveness of the Hoofsure Endurance solution.

Lamb Response: Watery mouth, which is an infection of the small intestine caused by E. coli, and scour account for most neonatal deaths in lambs.  Recent data shows that 50% of neonatal lamb E. coli infection is already resistant to the most commonly used antibiotic!  Provita Lamb Response is an oral supplement providing beneficial bacteria, egg powder and vitamins to help protect the sterile gut, fight harmful bacteria and stimulate the immune system.  Supporting the lamb and helping the farmer meet antibiotic reduction targets. Newborn lambs are also susceptible to hypothermia and energy deficiency.  Provita Jump Start is high in energy, minerals and vitamins to provide instant and slow release and to counteract common deficiencies.

*references available on request.  For more info FREEPHONE 0800 328 4982.  Written by George Shaw, MPharm MPSNI, Technical Adviser,, 07841 926219



Visit Provita at Balmoral 2019 – Stand AP47

Provita are delighted to be exhibiting at Balmoral Show, 15th – 18th May 2019.  Visit us in the Agri-Pavilion, stand AP47 for great show offers on all ranges and animal health advice – with a focus on increasing milk yield.

Vital Boost: Should be offered to a freshly calved cow within 1 hour after calving for maximum effect to provide vital nutrients and minerals to combat common postpartum disorders, and boost cows in early lactation or suckling. Vital Boost contains complementary ratios of essential macronutrients to enhance milk fever prevention and it offers high energy for immediate cow recovery after calving.

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Hoofsure Konquest Against Antibiotics!

Provita developed Hoofsure Konquest hoof gel in conjunction with Queens University Belfast and Roger Blowey. Konquest hoof gel is a concentrated 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.  Provita have ongoing studies with Konquest hoof gel versus commercially available antibiotic aerosol sprays.  Early results have been very promising.  Cure rates are an impressive 75% after 28 day revisits for selected active DD lesions.  For this study, Konquest was applied under gauze and lightly wrapped before removal in the parlour not more than 24 hours later.  These early results are certainly encouraging and confirmed anecdotal results seen in the field from commercial users.

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NEW PRODUCT: BUD GUARD for after debudding

Bud Guard is the latest new product from Provita Animal Health to spray on wound after debudding. It is antibiotic free and contains a unique film-forming agent that creates a water-proof barrier to help prevent contamination and aid quick wound healing.  The physical barrier from the spray helps to seal the wound and reduce bleeding if accidentally hit by calves when returned to pens or pasture. Read more

Provita Advance+ – the multi-purpose, effective inoculant

Provita Advance+ silage inoculant is a unique formulation combining EU approved and UFAS approved lactic and acetic acid bacterial strains at a guaranteed rate of 1.2 million cfu per g of forage. Performance benefits include +1 litre of milk per cow per day and up to +30% better growth rates. Better fermentation is also shown with 46% more sugar, 33% less ammonia and double stability time at feed out. (Source: EU reg data and in-house data) Read more

Provita products ready for lambing from Co Down to Yorkshire