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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.