In a blind trial, alternate calves in six consecutive production batches of calves (total 70), on a farm with a high incidence of respiratory and reproductive disease, were allocated to treatment with either valnemulin or a placebo premix added to the milk from four days of age. The calves were weighed at the beginning and end of a 21-day period of medication. Blood samples and nasal swabs were taken and examined for the presence of Mycoplasma and Pasteurella species, and antibodies to viral agents. Clinical condition, rectal temperature, respiratory and other signs and refusals of milk were recorded daily. Dead calves were examined postmortem. The calves medicated with valnemulin gained weight more quickly, had fewer cases of Mycoplasma infection and fewer respiratory signs, and required fewer treatments with antibiotics than those in the placebo group.