A new tool has been launched to help and reduce on-farm antibiotic usage.
Veterinary researchers at the University of Nottingham have produced a new tool to help UK dairy vets and farmers monitor and reduce antibiotic usage in their herds to help combat antimicrobial resistance (AMR).
It follows a new study by the Nottingham Vet School involving a large sample of dairy farms, which shows 25 per cent of farms were responsible for 50 per cent of the total antibiotics used across all farms in a year.
The new online tool designed by The Nottingham Vet School’s Ruminant Population Health Group is for farmers and vets to measure and monitor their prescription and use of antibiotics in dairy cattle. The Nottingham University Dairy Antimicrobial Usage (AMU) Calculator is available to download for free on the AHDB Dairy website.
Senior clinical training scholar and veterinarian, Robert Hyde, said: “We felt it was crucial to provide the means with which to benchmark antimicrobial usage on farms, so veterinarians and farmers can begin to monitor, and reduce, their levels of antimicrobial usage in a rational manner.
“Our new study provides the first published research into antimicrobial use in British dairy herds as well as factors associated with high usage. We looked at a sample of 358 dairy farms, over a 12-month period, with the total number of cattle being around 81,000, equating to 7 per cent of dairy cows in England. The survey found most of the antibiotic use was via injections, which accounted for around 78 per cent of the total antibiotics used or sold to the farms.
“What stood out as particularly surprising was the effects of the use of antibiotics in footbaths for conditions like digital dermatitis. Footbaths for cattle can use phenomenal quantities of antimicrobials, and represent an obvious target for the rapid reduction of antimicrobial usage.”