The McCammond family milk 160 cows on the outskirts of Antrim.
The dairy business is run in conjunction with a burgeoning pedigree Simmental enterprise: the Maghereagh herd is fast becoming recognised as a source of high quality bulls and breeding females. Last year the McCammonds secured first place in a Simmental heifer class at Ballymena Show. This was followed up by an excellent day out at Clogher Valley.
The family is keen to invest in the best possible genetics across both herds. A case in point is the successful use of sexed semen on dairy heifers and the top cows within the milking group.
“We have only lost one calf with scours over the past two years,” Stephen McCammond confirmed.
“Partly this is because we are totally committed to ensuring that all calves receive the colostrum they need immediately after birth. We are calving dairy cows the year round.
“All the colostrum produced on the farm is tested and only the best quality is fed to the calves.
“However, we also feed Provita’s Colostrum to every pedigree Simmental calf born on the farm and to heifer calves born to heifers that have been reared as dairy replacements.
“And the results speak for themselves. Making sure that calves get the Provita colostrum gives us the insurance that the animals are getting the protection they need during the first weeks of life. And this is crucially important: calves must be given the best possible start.”
Provita’s Tommy Armstrong was a recent visitor to the McCammond farm. He confirmed the growing demand for the company’s renowned Calf Colostrum Concentrate.
The product 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.
Provita Calf Colostrum 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.
“There is no guarantee that even the healthiest calf will get sufficient colostrum from suckling its mother,” Tommy Armstrong explained.
“In the case of suckler calves, feeding Provita Colostrum immediately after birth gets around this problem very quickly and effectively.
“On dairy farms, the option of drawing beestings off a freshly calved cow is feasible. However, in these situations the quality of the colostrum might not be high enough to ensure the calf gets the full level of immunity it needs.
“Provita Colostrum has been specifically developed to provide all newborn calves with the immunity levels they need.
“In addition, the product will provide newborns with the energy they need to actively suckle their mothers.”
Tommy continued: “Our colostrum product must be used as part of a calf rearing programme within which the highest standards of husbandry are achieved.
“For example, calves must be born in a thoroughly clean environment. Colostrum must be fed to all newborns for up to four days after birth. This will ensure that calves have access to the highest quality sources of energy and protein from the very outset.”
He concluded: “Demand for Provita Colostrum continues to grow. This demand reflects the track record of the product in delivering for dairy and beef farmers right across Northern Ireland.”