Twenty-six calves which had not previously grazed tick-infested pasture were divided into two equal groups. On May 26, 1988 (day 0) they were turned out into a field of rough grazing where cases of redwater fever had occurred the previous spring. Seven, 14, 21 and 28 days after the start of the trial the animals in one group each received an intramuscular injection of 20 mg/kg bodyweight of long-acting oxytetracycline. During the 60 days of the trial the animals received a severe tick-borne fever challenge, in some cases combined with a redwater fever challenge. An unforeseen complicating factor was the presence of animals persistently infected with bovine viral diarrhoea virus, present in almost equal numbers in both groups. At the end of the trial the treated group weighed on average 16 kg more than the control group, a difference which was attributed to the suppression of tick-borne fever by oxytetracycline.