Veterinary researchers at the University of Nottingham have produced a new tool to help UK dairy vets and farmers monitor and reduce use of antibiotics in their dairy herds to help combat antimicrobial resistance (AMR) in the farming industry.
It follows a new study by the Nottingham Vet School showing that, in a large sample of dairy farms, 25 per cent of farms used 50 per cent of the total antibiotics used across all farms in a year – with antibiotic footbaths accounting for the biggest volume dispersed into the food chain. The study is published in the Veterinary Record.
The Nottingham Vet School’s Ruminant Population Health Group has designed a new online tool that farmers and vets can use literally ‘in the field’ to measure and monitor their prescribing and use of antibiotics in dairy cattle. It’s called the Nottingham University Dairy Antimicrobial Usage (AMU) Calculator and is available to download for free HERE.
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 that 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 (seven per cent of dairy cows in England). The survey found that 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.”