News and Events

August Bank Holiday

Just a reminder that we will be closed on Monday 31st August, please place any orders as soon as possible the Cash & Carry is open until Friday 28th if you need any bags before the bank holiday.

Success for Riverside Customers at Recent Shows

biggs group

The Biggs family who keep the Dalewode flock at Axminster have had a very successful show season so far this year. The Royal Bath & West Show winning Champion within the breed classes and many 1st & 2nd prizes. In the  Interbreed they won Champion Native Sheep Shortwooled, and Reserve Champion Group of 3 having the previous week at Devon County won Reserve Male & Female Champion in the breed classes also Reserve Champion Group. They have been fed using Riverside Breeding Ewe 18% and Coarse Mix.

Success was also achieved in the Butchers Lambs classes for Mr & Mrs Churchill also from Axminster at Devon County, Winning 1st for the Best Butchers Lambs under 38kg and also 1st for the over 38kg class, 2nd prize for The Best Matching Pair of Carcasses and winning Reserve Champion Butchers Lambs. The lambs had been fed Riverside Starter Pellets and the ewes were fed Riverside Breeding 18% during lambing time. Nice to see all customers doing well in the live and deadweight classes.

denning angus

The Denning Family showing team this year seems to be getting stronger as the year goes on! The Temple & Park Wall Aberdeen Angus herd which are kept at Chedzoy, Bridgwater are fed Riverside Beef Grow 16%. They have been showing ‘Temple Psychic Nessie” who is a 2 year old heifer and has been shown with her 3 month old calf at foot. She had 1st Prize at Devon County, Bath & West, Cornwall & Yorkshire. More recently she was Reserve Champion at Mid Devon, continuing with the good results was Grace who won the Champion in the Young Handlers class. Well done to everyone competing at shows and showing the general public what British Agriculture has to offer and all the young people that are coming into the industry.

Calves – Increasingly important in every herd

The costs of calf rearing and indeed the value of every calf at the moment have a big impact on your business whether you are in dairy or beef. With the dramatic fall in milk prices bringing some people’s milk price down to around 22p/litre one good beef cross calf at £350.00 is worth 1,590 litres of milk a fifth of the lactation total of an 8,000 litre cow!

With each calf, so important then the old advice of getting 2 ½ litres of colostrum into every calf within six hours of its birth cannot be stressed too much. Colostrum contains the only source of disease resistance that a calf will have, until its own immune system develops.

Provimilk Professional or Daisy, and Volac Blossom, good quality milk replacers can be the best option for your calves. Just reducing the risk of Johnes disease is one good reason for using milk replacer for your dairy replacements.

provimilk bag

With the price of milk down the usual argument of putting every litre in the tank is not so strong as last year, unless, you look at things the way one local auctioneer suggested that some farmers are going to Sedgemoor, Exeter and other dairy sales looking for extra cows to help keep their milk cheque up as the price falls! One thing that Provimi milk contains that is not in cows milk is NuStart and trials here shown a 17% weight gain against powder fed without its inclusion. Feed efficiency; taking more dry feed earlier, and calf health also improved with a reduction in the number of calves scouring. Difficult times then but the value of good calves and bringing them through to weaning successfully cannot be denied.


Mineral Buckets in Stock for Collection

The fine detail of sheep feeding is always a challenge, as truthfully they never require a vast quantity of feed and grazing is a large proportion of all rations. However, it is always a gamble as to the mineral quality of sheep grazing land, particularly as fields will vary and the weather has a massive impact on the mineral movement between the soil and grass plants. Therefore we often see a mineral deficiency in retrospect, where the results of a deficiency are seen in lower lambing percentages, or poorer conception, instead of knowing the deficiency exists. It is therefore advisable to guard against the impact of mineral shortage, with a broad spectrum, well formulated bucket lick. Riverside now have Pre Tup buckets available in stock. Sheep should consume 20-60g per head per day, so 1 bucket is sufficient for 40 – 50 sheep per week.


The Photo of the Month For June

browse sheep

“I knew I had to go and get that shoulder of lamb”

This is Stephen Browse of Shuteslade Farm, Halberton.  The photo came about when moving some sheep. This lamb decided to go the wrong way and go behind some wire, after a short chase Stephen caught the lamb then carried it to his mother in the new field.  The sheep and lambs are fed on 16% cake.

Success For Many Young Farmers Clubs Across Devon

Axminster’s Show and Sale again at Exeter saw John Turner’s second price heifer make £1950,but came second to Mark Herrod’s Champion and best turned out, for the over 18’s. Under 18’s saw Emily Gay coming first and best turned out pictured below. Richard Ellis  coming first with his pen of sheep for the under 18’s and James Mitchamover 18’s. The champion of the show was Kirsty Warren with her Beef Bullock pictured below

kirsty warrenemily gay

Culm Valley Show and Sale saw James Westcott, pictured mentioned in Kivells Exeter market report achieving £1230, for a 16 month Limousin Steer, also winning the overall show championship with his four Suffolk Cross ewes and their eight Suffolk Cross Charollais Lambs, pictured  left. One of their show’s highlights were £98.00 for tame or orphan lambs from Connor & Georgina Pengelly. They were described as “Very Forward!” Lauren Sanders with her Champion Lambs made £136 as did Kirsty Reed and Mark Snell close behind at £128.00. westcott steerjames westoctt






Honiton YFC Show and Sale was held at Sedgemoor, with Ellen Burrough achieving the top price on the day being £1320, see the blue steer pictured below.  Champion British Blue Steer was won by Lauren Reed and Champion In-Milk Heifer was won by Rebecca Bartlett, pictured below, both being from T.B restricted animals judged on farms. Champion Pen of Ewes & Lambs and Best Presented Pen of Ewes and Lambs were won by Katie Maynard. lambs katie maynard

rebecca bartlett



blue steer lauren reed






Whimple and Broadclyst went to Exeter market for their event and pictured are Melissa Down who won with her Champion Sheep and took the Best Presented award as well. Also pictured is George Pring’s ‘Best Presented’ British Blue. george pringmelissa down sheep






Yarcombe YFC’s Show and Sale was held at Sedgemoor and saw a tremendous run of Blue Steers. Overall Champion and Best Presented Blue was shown by Scott Burrough with his Blue Steer, pictured, and reserve from Fiona Laramy. Heaviest Steer was shown by Andrew Dyer leading the price on his Steer with £1350.00. Champion Pair of Pigs was awarded to Tom Hine and sold at £115. Ewes and Lambs were won by Fiona Laramy’s 4 Ewes with 8 Lambs, 18 years and under, which sold £240.00 (£87.27/life) which was closely followed by David Laramy, pictured who sold a similar outfit for £238 (£86.55/life), winner of 18 years and over. burrough steerdavid laramy sheep






yarcombe yfc group photo






Hurry Up & Feed Us Our Riverside Starter Pellets’

webber lambs

Pictured here for our photo of the month, is Brian Webber’s lambs catching a ride. When he goes to feed them their Riverside Starter Pellets, quite often he sees his lambs trying to ‘hitch’ a ride whilst waiting to be fed.


langford lambsSuccess For Riverside Customers With An Eblex Award

 Congratulations to Graham & Anne Langford and their son Joss who farm at Great Garlandhayes Farm near Taunton under the prefix Blackdown, have just won the Most Improved Flock of Dorset sheep with Eblex, for the second time having won it previously in 2003. The family maintain a flock of 125 pedigree breeding ewes, and only purchase above average in-lamb stock from Centurion members, and have used artificial insemination from the Centurion Ram of the Year for four years taking the quality and whole flock figures to a high level. The ewes are fed Riverside Breeding Ewe 18% pre and post lambing and the lambs that are going to Waitrose are fed Riverside Lamb Finisher 16%. The majority of the Blackdown flock is sold directly off the farm to both pedigree and commercial buyers for more details you can go their website

Magnesium Deficiency – ‘Grass Staggers’ 

 At this time of year we need to be prepared in order to avoid the consequences of magnesium deficiency notably ‘staggers’ and, in some cases of course sudden death in animals.

Although magnesium is one of the major minerals it occurs in small amounts in the animal body.  It is closely associated with calcium and phosphorus in an animal’s skeleton which contains about 70% of the total; the remainder occurs in the soft tissues and body fluids.  Magnesium is essential for making carbohydrates available to ruminants and for the normal functioning of the nervous system. The magnesium content of grass varies widely, but clover contains two to three times the amount of magnesium that grasses contain, therefore with cows going out to straight ryegrass fields the risk of staggers can be greater and of course on fields that have recently had slurry or ‘dirty water’ the higher potash content can depress the availability of magnesium even more. The most common danger periods for hypomagnesaemia or grass staggers are:

  1. Cows grazing lush leafy grass in the spring especially when it is still cold.
  2. Suckler cows out-wintered on low levels of nutrition, and in cold conditions 2-8 weeks after calving.
  3. Ewes about 2-8 weeks after lambing especially when they go on to lush spring grass or new seeds.

At Riverside we will be increasing the magnesium level in our dairy cakes ready for turnout.

High Magnesium Buckets and Hi-mag minerals are available. Some ewes could be showing signs of what could be magnesium deficiency at the moment. It could be a wise precaution to put out some high magnesium buckets or minerals for the ewes with lambs as well as their cake.

Keep the buckets up and any loose minerals you may give them above the level the lambs can get at – it’s only the ewes which should have the extra magnesium.

For further information on supplementary magnesium speak to your representative or ring Riverside on 01460 68520.

Calf rearing in mid-winter, it can be a difficult time

As we go into February with often severe changes in temperature and sometimes a build-up of infection in sheds, this can be one of the most difficult times in rearing calves.

The most common problem in their first weeks is scouring and minimising scour will help the fight against pneumonia.

Good feeding from the start will build up the calf’s immune system. All the antibodies required for immunity are transferred from the cow to the calf through colostrum. During their first six hours, the gut of the new born calf is able to absorb antibodies from the cow contained in her colostrum and take them into the blood stream to provide resistance to disease. Freezing some colostrum and keeping in reserve or getting in powered colostrum to have as a back-up is vital.

It has been shown in many trials that a calf is at its most efficient in converting food in its first twelve weeks. Dairy heifers need to reach a target of 120 kgs body weight in this time. First lactation milk yield can increase by up to 800 litres per heifer if they have achieved this growth rate.

Provimilk Professional and Dairy milk replacers contain NuStart which helps in development of the calf’s rumen. This is one of the most important areas of calf nutrition and good quality concentrates such as Riverside Starter Pellets also contain NuStart and should be offered from four days of age.

Keeping stress to a minimum is also very important. Pain relief during de-horning and of course keeping calf pens dry and well bedded all play a part.

Good ventilation, without draughts, and, not having adult cattle sharing the same air all help. If calves have to be kept in sheds likely to be too cold, calf jackets which are increasing in popularity, can do a good job. If you have got to buy calves in try to keep them separate from your own calves for about a month.

As we said last month, in relation to cows, switching to cheaper rations runs the risk of potentially lower cattle performance. Some companies use soya hulls in place of sugar beet to put fibre into rations. We believe at Riverside that the fibrous residues of sugar beet pulp composed of cellulose is highly digestible. With the right balance of protein sugar beet is an ideal feed for cattle of all ages.

Riverside Starter Pellets and Riverside 16 rearing cake contain generous levels of sugar beet to help your young stock’s growth, and, later, herd performance! Speak to your representative or ring Riverside on 01460 68520 for further information on young stock feeding.

The Geese are getting ready!     As we move into December we can see that Christmas is coming and the geese are getting fat! Pictured below are goslings as they arrive on our representative Dan Dunning’s farm in July and as they are now in November.goslingslarge geese A lot of hard work and a lot of Riverside Poultry Grower/Finisher. Let us help your business grow in 2015.Sheep Feeds for the 2014-2015 season, making the best from your flockOn average 10% or more of ewes in a flock fail to rear any lambs. Failure to conceive surprisingly accounts for less than one in five of those ewes. Most of them do get in lamb, but, for different reasons lose their lambs during pregnancy.

The main reason for these losses are poor nutrition, metabolic disorders pneumonia and mastitis leading in some cases to death of the ewe. Embryo losses can be caused by stress in early pregnancy or diseases such as toxoplasmosis. Also abortion caused by infections and stillbirth are another factor.

Finally of course lamb deaths at birth, or just after, can be due to poor ewe condition, not enough milk or colostrum, clostridial diseases and pneumonia.

So what of the good news? Making sure the ewe is fit to breed and bringing in ewe lamb replacements and or a new ram and ewes will have taken place now. The overall fitness of the flock is maintained by a firm replacement policy and will avoid keeping to many sheep which are unlikely to rear lambs.

Putting good food into ewes helps ensure viable lambs and good lamb birth weights. Investing in good quality sheep cake will help ensure that the ewe gets the vital nutrients she needs.

Ensuring ewes have sufficient protein is vital for lamb growth rates and survival. Through pregnancy her protein requirements will increased and research has shown that two weeks before lambing her by pass protein requirements doubles, if she is carrying twins it doubles again. This demand for protein at a high level goes on till eight weeks after lambing.


Riverside Breeding Ewe 18% or 20% – If your forage is very low in protein, will ensure that the bypass protein needed is provided.

The Breeding Ewe Nuts and Rolls – are designed to supply readily available energy and protein that will provide the lambs with plenty of milk.

Riverside Starter Pellets – Available in creep feeders early will promote good rumen development.

Riverside Lamb Finisher  – Where concentrates are needed for your hogs will enhance their finish and grading.

Provimi Shepherdess – Lamb milk will be available at Riverside in 5kg,10kg and 20 kg bags. The Shepherdess feeder is also available and can be a great help with large numbers of orphan lambs – hopefully mainly from triplets!bagging shed 005

All sheep feeds are available collected or delivered in 25kg, 500kg tote bags and bulk.


Feeding cows to appetite.

A well-known belief in farming circles is that large crops of hay, silage, maize and cereals can be a sign that a lot of feed will be used in the following winter, and, sometimes on almost to the next summer!

This year’s crops could mean a long winter then! We shall see. Profitable feeding of cows is the main objective of most dairy farms. There are many factors which affect the profitability of a dairy farm but milk yield per cow is a major one as well as the current major talking point, milk price. In the present climate with cows selling so well over the last year, plus the high costs of investment in buildings and slurry handling, getting a good yield from these cows is vital.

Feeding to appetite for one individual cow in the United States meant she ate 7% of her bodyweight each day in the form of 1-25kg bag of cake and one bale of hay: almost 40kg of day matter per day. She also drank 60 gallons of water a day – to remind us of the importance of good access to water troughs helping push yields on. To many cows like that one, famous in the U.S.A. in the 1970’s would soon begin to use up the large stacks of big bales made this year! Back to 2014 then and feeding to appetite for your cows. Good performance and getting the best from your cows potential means having the appropriate diet being available at all times for the cows. Palatability and presentation can all increase intakes.

Good trough and barrier space makes a big difference remembering that heifers need a chance to get their shape. Putting in the silage mix twice a day has been shown to gain ½  an M.E. in energy value over putting it in once. In other words feed at 12 M.E. put in the morning down to 11.5M.E, by tea  time  when it is losing energy heating up. Having hay or good straw in the cubicles or racks will ensure that there is enough long fibre, or, put some in the wagon mix to help digestion. And what of cake feeding at present prices? 30 years ago with cake at £176.00 per tonne and milk at 15p a litre, 1 litre of milk brought 0.83kgs of cake. 20 years ago with cake at £162.00 per tonne and milk at 22pence/litre 1 litre would buy 1.35kgs of cake. At that time though interest rates of 11% and leasing at 11p/litre were very big extra costs when you were trying to sell more litres.

Today the recent falls from the higher early 2014 milk prices are serious and will make a big difference to what a cow will return. However one litre of milk at present prices will buy around 1.2kg of cake. Feeding your cows to appetite will enable your cows to give of their best where there is plenty of food on offer, and, the cows that can utilise extra food, get it.

Rationing to achieve the results from your feeding, milking and housing system will pay now and hopefully better again when milk prices improve. For help with your cows’ diet speak to your representative or ring 01460 68520.

‘Goodbye to Keith’

 Following 8 years at Riverside we had to say goodbye to Keith,who retired at the end of October. We wish him all the best in his retirement.

Keith Hunkin would like to say thank you for all the kindness, hospitality and business given to me during my eight years at Riverside Feeds. After 43 years of farm calling, and, about ten million miles, I think it was time to stop, even though I will miss the job very much. Thanks too to all the staff at Riverside and Sally, Derek, Iris and Richard. I wish everyone customers and staff all the best in the future.


Riverside Dairy Blends.

We are offering a wide range of blends to cover your requirements. The following will cover many situations, but alongside these we can tailor individual blends to your herd. We recognise that to get quality out, you need to put quality in and select our raw materials on this basis using Rolled Wheat, Sugar Beet, Distillers, Hipro Soya and Rape:-

  • Active 28%. A 28% protein blend of equal parts Hipro Soya, Rape Sugar Beet and Rolled Wheat.
  •  Active 30%. A 30% Protein blend consisting Rape, Distillers Hipro Soya Rolled Wheat and Molasses
  •  Performance 37%; consisting Hipro Soya, Rape and Sugar Beet.
  •  HS 18% blend suitable for feeding to high performance herds providing high levels of energy, starch.
  •  Triple Blend 15%; Sugar Beet, Distillers and Rolled Wheat in equal proportions plus molasses.

Blends for all situations; wagon feeding or spread on the silage – good ingredients for good results.

Riverside Fixed Formulations.

With the whole of the industry under pressure we have noticed some interesting changes in the type and the quality of raw materials being used and recommended by some compounders. What appears to be happening is that the make up of some compounds bears little resemblance to the original formulation. Whilst we accept some changes are inevitable from time to time, as long as you are made aware of the changes and, told the reasons for the changes no problems, but this does not always seem to be the case. Look on the declaration ticket that accompanies every load you have delivered. On the declaration ticket it should show in descending order of inclusion what raw materials are in that feed.  Riverside rations are fixed formulation this means that of course we look at our range of rations from time to time but we certainly do not change the formulation every other load. Sometimes taking a look at the declaration ticket makes for interesting reading looking back over the last few and comparing might be a worthwhile exercise.


British Blue A.G.M comes to Devon

dunn drift hollyAt the end of May Riverside customers Jeff & Lorraine Dunn hosted the British Blue National A.G.M at their farm at South Tawton with a farm walk to view their Highridge herd of British Blues, The Devon County Show had been very successful for them a couple of weeks before and pictured is Drift Holly their heifer which won the Female Championship. Then at the Royal Three Counties Show won the Reserve Breed Champion. Over £400.00 was raised for a fund for a neighbour’s eight year old son who has been diagnosed with cancer.

The 2014 Shows and some Riverside Customer Successes   denning cow

The Denning family from Chedzoy had great success at this year’s National Angus show at The Royal Three Counties Show. Pictured is Rawburn Rosebud the Champion in the Native Beef Cow & Calf competition then in the Interbred. With their cattle fed on Riverside Beef Grow Cake the family’s daughters, Gracie and Meg were first and second in the Young Handlers competition

Biggs ram and ewe champ

At the Devon County Show the Biggs family’s Jacob sheep won Champion and Reserve Female and Male Champion, and the group of three, and also did well at the Royal Bath & West, having fed their Jacobs on Riverside Coarse Mix.


derryman sheep group of 3

The Derryman family of Peterhayes had a very successful Devon County Show winning Breed Champion amongst many other prizes with their Hampshire Downs. Pictured are Mr  & Mrs Henry Derryman and grandson Philip with their winning group of three. Well done to all other Riverside exhibitors at this year’s shows.

Dairy farmers warned of heat stress as temperatures rise

What a difference a month makes!  Now, a month on, acres of silage and hay have been cut as the sun shone and temperatures soared. Adam Clay of Trouw Nutrition, one of our suppliers of minerals and pre-mixes, warned last week that temperatures do not need to be very high before cows can be affected. Even temperatures from 20°C upwards begin to have an effect – the obvious symptoms, a more rapid respiration rate and panting, lethargy, reduced feed intake and rumination and lower yields. Heat stressed cows cud less and so produce less saliva. These factors increase the risk of acidosis by disrupting the usual rumen buffering effect of rumination.

Whilst there is much evidence of the benefits of buffer feeding at grass in more normal temperatures and when the grass is wet Mr Clay said that when cows are eating a lot of silage in very hot conditions the fermentation process produces seven times more heat in the rumen than digesting concentrates, so under heat stress conditions it can pay to reduce forage and increase concentrates, particularly high fibre concentrates.

Obviously shade or coming back into sheds will help but Mr Clay points out that on these hottest days if the cows have less silage and more cake they will want even more water to go with their feed. By the time you read this it will probably have cooled off but if July & August do bring high temperatures again this is food for thought.


Milk Production for the rest of the summer – getting it right

Some May and June grass might just have had potential to produce 20-25 litres per cow, but only for staler cows. 10 litres per day for fresh calvers could then have been realistic, now in July it would be very optimistic. Two litres of extra milk on most contracts now should be worth 60 pence per cow or more, over a month about £18.00 per cow in round figures.   Concentrate cost has to come out of this extra milk, but cake targeted at cows which will respond will buffer the fall in the quality and quantity of grass which always occurs after mid-summer and will pay dividends.  Preparing dry cows – keeping their grass intake low, feeding them straw and then silage together with Mike Lemmey ‘A’ Rolls or dry cpoultry feedow minerals will ensure your cows come into the herd tuned up to perform and produce those extra litres.   Finally, with the price of milk now it will be definitely worth trying to put all the litres in the tank and feeding the calves on Calf Milk Powder. We have Provimi Professional and Daisy in stock and also Volac Blossom. Follow on with Riverside Starter pellets and Riverside 16% Cake from about 10-12 weeks to give your calves a good start.


This year Riverside Feeds will be attending the following shows please come along to find us:

Mid Devon Show – Saturday 26th July

Honiton Show – Thursday 7th August

Melplash Show – Thursday 21st August


Spring Lambs enjoying the sunshine at Leonards Farm in Cullompton

greenslade skipping lambs

Pictured are some lambs from Mr Greenslade of Leonards Farm in Cullompton enjoying the bit of sunshine we have seen recently. The lambs are being fed Riverside Starter Pellets and the ewes have been fed on Riverside Ewe Rolls.


greenslade sheep and foxThey Look too big for me!’

  Riverside customer Colin Greenslade of Cullompton took these lovely photos of a fox sizing up his lambs one evening back in February. Colin said he made sure lamb was off the menu but the fox and the lambs all lived to tell the tale!


triplets newsletter photo

Riverside Customer Has a cow calve with Triplet Heifer calves born at Ivedon Farm in Awliscombe

All the calves being female is said to be a 1 – 800,000 chance. Born to a Friesian cow the bull was a Limousin and the calves have been named Phoenix, Pandora and Megara. Mrs Nicky Pring says all three are doing well and feeding easily. The cow prior to calving was fed on Mike Lemmey’s Dry Cow Rolls.

Creep feeding for profit

Crossbred lambs eating feed out of a creep feeder.Creep feeding during the first 12 weeks of life will cost half as much as feeding a lamb in September to “catch up”.  The conversion of creep feed nutrition into body weight gain is twice as efficient earlier in life, than later. If there is a grass shortage at turnout (whether your grazing is tight, or the weather is awful), then unless lambs are creep fed, they will never catch up later in life.  A ewe with twin lambs, can only support their nutritional growing demand upto 2 weeks old, so either grass needs to be plentiful, or creep feed needs to be introduced at this very early stage. A lamb fed from this stage, to slaughter, will convert feed into body weight very efficiently, and will consume on average 70kg of feed – around £18 per head.  Creep feed can be removed once grass becomes plentiful, and many producers will budget £10 per head as a justified cost for getting lambs away efficiently.  Creep feeding also ensures ewes are not pulled down in condition, so they are at the correct condition for weaning, allowing flushing at autumn grass prior to tupping.  Riverside Multipurpose Starter pellets are extremely palatable and are a 4mm pellet which is an ideal size for starting creep feeding early.

   Success for Riverside Customer’s at local shows

NewPole Blues are having great succNewPole Felicity Devon Countyess with a homebred heifer born in September 2010, NewPole Felicity was shown successfully in 2012 but was always in the shadow of her six month older herd mate, NewPole Feisty. That said, she was Female Champion at Devon County 2012 and Breed and Reserve Continental Interbreed at Frome Show 2012. As a calf, she was Reserve Female Champion at the North West British Blue Club’s Calf Show 2011. NewPole Felicity was being flushed  in April 2013 (producing 4 Grade 1 embryos, 3 of which ‘stuck’ and are due January 2014), so missed this year’s Devon County show and took a little extra time to come into full bloom again, which she has done with the help of Riverside Feed’s Coarse Mix, which is her main show ration. She hit her stride at the Royal Welsh, making the line up in the Senior Heifer class, placed sixth from 18 entries. After returning from the Royal Welsh on the Thursday night, she pitched up at Mid Devon and took Breed Champion and Reserve Continental Interbreed, with her herd mate NewPole Harlequin winning her class also. Just another few days later and with NewPole Felicity being our only entry, she took Any Other Continental Breed Champion at Honiton and went on to take Reserve Supreme Champion in the scorching heat. She has a few more entries, North Devon, Dunster and Dorchester. More details about the herd can be found at

Also congratulations to Mr & Mrs Wheeler of Rosecroft Limousin’s from Cullompton winning Overall Supreme Champion at this year’s Honiton Show with their cow and calf, which has been fed on Riverside Beef Grow Blend. Many congratulations to all the exhibitors at a very hot Honiton Show!

Why do animals lick things – or what is “pica”?

At some point, we will all see animals licking specific areas of their housing, or certainpatches of soil – this is scientifically known as “pica”.  Causes of “pica” are not fullyunderstood, but it is clear that it arises from some sort of shortage of nutrients in a ration – often a shortage of certain minerals. Some research has also found sheep displaying “pica” when they were short of energy and protein while grazing.   The “pica” we deal with on farm is caused mostly by cows searching for a shortage of minerals.  It has been related in lots of scientific publications to different shortages: phosphorus, sodium, cobalt, zinc, potassium chloride or copper deficiency.  It may be hard to believe, that research on “pica” even goes back to the 1940’s.
It can coincide with poor growth or milk production, depressed appetite, feed inefficiency, and decreased fertility. To establish it as a cause of any of these problems, will depend on the number of cases in the herd, rather than individual cases.

One of the minerals well-known for “pica” is phosphorus. It leads to cows chewing on wood or licking soil, and will show as a decrease in growth rate, inefficient feed utilisation, poor reproduction, fragile bones and joint stiffness. However, these forms of “pica” are not specific to phosphorus deficiency, since they have also been observed in animals suffering from a lack of sodium and potassium and possibly many other minerals.

In the case of sodium, the first sign of “salt” shortage in milking cows is “pica” or a craving for salt, shown by licking of wood or soil and the urine or sweat of other animals. An extreme appetite for salt can occur within 2–3 weeks of insufficient sodium being present in the ration. It can also be indicated by excessive consumption of water. After several weeks, appetite begins to decline and the animal develops a haggard appearance and rough coat, loses weight and reduces any milk yield.

Keep an eye on cows going out to grass, and any herd wide behaviours such as licking soil.  Please contact Sue on 07912 268810 if you have any queries, as rock salt, and GP minerals are available from Riverside, alongside the minerals supplemented in cake and blends.

Prevention of respiratory infection in calves

Respiratory infection is one of the biggest health issue affecting calves. It is estimated to cost a minimum of £50 per sick calf (lost growth, additional labour, longer rearing period, more feed and milk replacer and treatment costs). The remainder of the group can also be impacted, costing as much as £30 per calf.

There are two ways to handle this infection: prevention and treatment. Prevention is always the best possible route to take and major gains can be obtained by applying the correct management.

Firstly nutritional management, a newborn calf should receive 3 to 5 litres of colostrum within the first 6 hours, following the 3 Q’s regarding colostrum uptake: Quality, Quantity and Quickly.  Ideally, the colostrum is from the cow but it can be supplemented with a good quality colostrum powder. A good level of nutrition should be maintained throughout the calf’s development to build up the calf’s immune system.

Along with milk, the calf should start eating solid feed early, to develop the rumen, which will encourage energy and protein intake which will help to boost the immune system of the calf.  Riverside also use a premix containing NuStart in their Multipurpose Starter Pellets; there are many trials supporting its impact on calf health and performance. NuStart is a unique premix containing etheric oils, probiotics, prebiotics and antioxidants (not antibiotics). It reduces unwanted bacteria in the intestine, promotes intestinal development, stimulating feed intake, immunity and health increasing growth rate.  NuStart therefore gives calves a better start in life and enabling them grow faster, showing its usefulness as a nutritional management tool to promote strong healthy calves.


 musclemanPictured is ‘Muscleman’ a Hampshire Down ram from Mr Geoff and Mrs Jean Boyle’s, Millfields flock at West Worlington, Their flock established now 14 years has taken advantage of the increased interest in the breed in Europe and across the world. Rams and semen are exported from the flock which are fed Riverside Breeding Ewe 18 pre lambing onwards from December, and the lambs fed Riverside Lamb Finisher through the winter.

Collections from Riverside Feeds:

  • Due to the increased demand for tote bags and bulk collections of cake and pellets, we will require 24 hours notice for collection of these products. This will help us in the planning of our production runs and let us maintain a steady stock of all products.

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