Victus Transition for Dairy Cows: Update and Frequently Asked Questions

Victus Transition is a supplement which when fed at 7 gm (1/4 oz) per cow per day provides 400 mg of pure ROVIMIX ® β-carotene (BC) along with mixed tocopherols, a natural source of vitamin E compounds which act directly as antioxidants.  β-carotene is a carotenoid antioxidant which also serves as a vitamin A precursor in the ovary, mammary, and other target tissues.

What are the benefits?

• Improved conception rates and 21-d pregnancy rates (conception rate times heat detection rate)

• Stronger heat signs (important for herds using activity monitoring or other forms of heat detection)

• Fewer days open (more lifetime lactations per cow, higher herd average milk production)

• Supports cow (directly) and calf (through colostrum) immune health

Totaling up the above list of benefits, each category can help justify supplemental a Victus Transition program, but cow health (metritis, mastitis, etc) provides the highest economic return). 

Do you have current research to support the role of Victus Transition?  

Recent research, by Madureira and others in 2020, shows that cows with higher BC blood status (> 3.2 micrograms/ml at 116 days in milk) had higher pregnancies per timed artificial insemination (AI), lower pregnancy losses/aborts in early gestation, and higher pregnancy associated glycoproteins at d31 post-AI.  Effects were more noticeable in 1st-lactation heifers (primiparous) and in cows with lower body condition score.   Previous trials demonstrated that ration ingredients contribute only 20 mg of BC or lower, and that supplemental BC can persist in the bloodstream for several weeks.

Figure 1: Association of blood BC concentration at AI on pregnancy/AI by parity.  Madureira et al, 2020.

I’ve heard of β-carotene before.  Has anything changed to suggest that cows require more BC today?

Several aspects of dairy production have made reproduction more critical, at a time when stored forage, TMR’s, and other feeding practices may have increased the need for supplemental BC.  Also economic pressure for milk production, reproductive success, and the high cost of nonconformance (culling) have increased our understanding of when to supplement.

What are your recommended programs?

If your primary objective is colostrum quality, supplementation of 400 mg BC/hd/d (7 gm of Victus Transition) for the closeup period is the most common program.  If the closeup period is shorter or longer than 21 days, rates can be adjusted to reflect total pre-calving BC desired (25 days times 400 mg = 10 gm pure BC for example). Producers often note color and other quality changes in colostrum from supplemented cows, as shown in the figure below.

Figure 2: Colostrum color and BC concentration scores.  Prom et al, 2016.

If your primary objective is transition support followed by support of conception rate or heat detection, often consultants will recommend extending the Victus Transition feeding period into the early lactation ration if possible.

Regardless of program design, iCheck® can be used to evaluate cow status pre- and post-supplementation.  See figure 3 below:

Figure 3: iCheck on-farm audit sheet showing avg herd BC concentrations by production phase

Is it stable?

The β-carotene used in Victus Transition is a dsm-firmenich beadlet source, formulated for dry feed and pelleting stability.  Recoveries through pelleting (conditioning temp = 167 F; pelleting at 180 F plus 6 months storage) were 88% in dsm-firmenich testing.

What does your iCheck® field testing tell you?

The above summary represents 800 herds sampled in North America.  Herds were unsupplemented (BC = No), on pasture, or supplemented with Victus Transition (BC = Yes).  Individual blood test samples were divided by production category, starting from the early dry period.  What we found out is that 400 mg BC (7 gm Victus Transition) elevated dry and closeup cow blood levels by 1.2-1.7 micrograms (ug)/ml.  For a given herd, the lowest BC status will be at closeup/calving—because the cow is experiencing oxidative stress and transporting BC into colostrum.  Also, encouragingly, cows receiving Victus Transition in the dry period experienced much higher BC levels at peak milk, which is the time she might be bred.  As shown in figure 3, this rise occurs naturally because of dry matter intake increases during the early lactation, accompanied by conservation of the supplemented BC.

Published on

15 May 2023


  • Ruminants
  • Carotenoids


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