An electronic medicine book for pigs, which has the ability to record accurate on-farm antibiotic usage data has been launched today.
Widespread concerns about the threat of antibiotic resistance in human and animal medicine have prompted the pig industry to develop an electronic medicine book, which has the ability to collect accurate on-farm antibiotic usage data.
Martin Smith, AHDB veterinary team manager, speaking in a webinar to mark the launch of the electronic medicine book for pigs (eMB-pigs) which went live at noon today (April 20), explained the UK pig industry was currently ‘not well informed’ about pig specific use of antibiotics.
“We only have total sales data currently, but many of the products used have shared licences between the pig and poultry sectors, which does not give an accurate picture of pig-specific use.
“For this reason, AHDB Pork and the Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD) have developed the eMB-Pigs, which is also supported by Northern Ireland and the Scottish and Welsh levy bodies,” he said.
“eMB-Pigs provides an electronic version of the existing paper medicine book. For a long time now, it has been a legal requirement for all pig producers to keep a medicine book on farm to record all medication administered to livestock.
“And it’s recently become a requirement of Red Tractor farm assurance schemes that annual, aggregated, records of antibiotic use are kept, which include antibiotics administered in feed. eMB-Pigs will help producers collate this information.”
“Producers can start using the eMB-Pigs website either to enter or upload their total antibiotic usage or to replace their current medicine recording book or system.
“Future system developments will allow farm management software and mobile apps to interact with the eMB and automatically upload medicine usage data onto the system.
“What’s more, the long-term view is that eMB-Pigs will help individual producers compare their on-farm usage to anonymised data from other similar units, to help them review their approach to antibiotic use and make management changes to reduce production costs.
“It will also be able to provide an anonymised, aggregated national record of total antibiotic usage for the VMD, when needed.”
This is the first time a system of this type has been run for the pig industry. Mr Smith explained it had been designed and piloted in collaboration with vets and a group of producers from around the UK. “Further feedback from producers and vets is welcome and will be used to develop the system further over coming months, tailoring it to be as easy as possible to use.”
- Includes ‘smart programming’ which remembers common medicine administrations to reduce tedious data entry
- A spreadsheet system is available for producers with poor, or no, internet connection
- Producers using their own online recording systems should speak directly to Martin Smith to discuss integration with the new system.