Protecting the future of our cattle

Everyone helps out on the Smith family farm (left to right) Andrew England, Daniel England and Rae England (Smith)

Everyone helps out on the Smith family farm (left to right) Andrew England, Daniel England and Rae England (Smith)

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It is critical when rearing cattle that we give calves the best possible start in life.

Provita Protect POM-VPS is the only veterinary licensed probiotic in Europe, and is trusted by farmers across Northern Ireland and further afield to prevent calf scour.

In Drumquin, Co Tyrone, Raymond Smith has used Protect for the past seven years. He ensures that he always has a few bottles on hand during calving periods, as he knows it is important to use the product as soon after birth as possible. Provita’s Tommy Armstrong paid a visit to the family farm recently and from arrival it was clear that the family’s love and care for their livestock has filtered through the generations, and that good farm practice is held very highly. Raymond’s grandson spoke of his love for all things farming and in particular getting to help his grandfather on the farm.

Raymond’s daughter Rae spoke of the necessity they place on giving their calves a healthy and happy start in life.

“We have used Provita Protect for many years, and we would never change this routine. We had calves born at the end of September and beginning of October, all of which got a dose of Protect as soon as they were born. For us it is just a case of giving our calves an opportunity to thrive as well as possible and to ensure that we have done our best to ensure that their gut is protected from bad bacteria.

“It is now just common sense that we use Provita Protect. It has worked very well for us in the past, and keeping our calves as healthy as possible will always be a highest priority for our farm.”

This higher health status is recognised by buyers in the marts where Raymond regularly gets over £300 for BB cross drop calves a few weeks old.

On the Shaw family farm in Castlewellan, Co. Down, Robert and his son George Shaw run a 70 plus beef cattle herd and also rear dairy herd calves and some suckler calves. They have been using Provita Protect POM-VPS and Provita Response Paste for the past three years.

George was quick to point out their approach to running a successful beef farm:

“I have always been interested in taking a preventative approach when it comes to the health of calves. We prefer to ensure that when our calves are first born they are given the recommended dose of Provita Protect, and for any particularly hard cases we will give them a shot of Response Paste along with this. We find that it has kept our cases of calf scour under control very well. Since we have started using the products I can only recall one case of calf scour and that was actually related to antibiotic usage for pneumonia.

“For bought in calves we ensure that they all receive Response Paste as they tend to be slower to drink. As long as they receive Response Paste you find that they will generally be much quicker to drink the next morning.

“On our farm we know that it is very important to ensure that our calves thrive to their potential. We try not to use antibiotics where possible and to use probiotics as a strong preventative approach. Also when too much electrolytes have been used.”

Provita’s Tommy Armstrong highlighted the benefits of using probiotics: “Provita Protect suspension supplies 10 billion unique triple strain probiotic bacteria that rapidly colonise the sterile gut of the newborn calf. These unique probiotic bacteria prevent harmful pathogens such as E Coli from attaching to the gut wall through competitive exclusion. The probiotic bacteria also produce lactic acid therefore lowering the pH in the gut further inhibiting harmful pathogens. The combination of more bacteria and lower pH also improves digestion as demonstrated by a 31% increase in growth rates in clinical trials.

“With overuse and misuse of antibiotics now a matter of great importance, probiotics such as Provita Protect can help farmers take a strong preventative approach in farming practice.”

Provita Protect POM-VPS should be given to new born calves at birth; bought-in calves; after digestive upsets or after antibiotic therapy.