“We had a tremendous year in 2016, with prices for young bulls regular making in excess of £4,000,” said Bernard.
“We are striving to improve the length and confirmation of the cattle we breed. And with this in mind we are making use of elite bulls through AI. Embryo transfer work is also working for us.
The Archie’s herd comprises 25 cows, split into autumn and spring calving groups.
“This approach ensures that we have stock to sell at those times of the year when they would be in most demand, from a breeding point of view.”
Giving calves the best possible start is a key management objective for Bernard.
“If this is not achieved, calves will not make up for lost ground. This is why we ensure that every calf born receives a shot of Provita Protect at birth.
“We have found it to be the most effective way of getting the newborns on their feet, ready to suckle their mothers. It is very easy to administer and gives us total piece of mind.”
“We also make sure that each calf gets its full intake of colostrum. But since using the Protect product, we have had no incidence of scours in young calves.
“Each newborn gets two shots of Protect as soon as possible after birth, which are followed up with single dose applications on days two and three.
Provita’s Kieran Donnelly was a recent visitor to the Mc Kenna farm
“Protect is an oral supplement providing high-level multi-strain probiotic bacteria to prevent diarrhoea in newborn calves,” he explained.
“It is the only probiotic which is medicinally licensed for the prevention of calf scour. It has been clinically proven to reduce calf scour by 83%. To obtain this Veterinary Licence, it has undergone many years of rigorous testing to guarantee safety, efficacy and quality.
“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.
“Protect should be given to new born calves at birth; bought-in calves; after digestive upsets or after antibiotic therapy.”
Bernard McKenna said that the use of Protect is now an integral part of the calf rearing procedures followed on the farm.
“Each calf gets the treatment, without exception,” he concluded.