Antimicrobial usage on sheep and beef farms
There’s a growing pressure to reduce antimicrobial (AM) use in animal health. However, to effectively promote this change in treatment, the industry needs sound benchmarking data on usage patterns and a good understanding of the practices and attitudes that exist around antimicrobials on farms and among veterinary clinicians.
Although total antimicrobial use in UK sheep and beef production (VMD, 2014) is considered to be small compared to in other animals, there is no data that allows farms to benchmark against other similar enterprises and take positive steps forward.
Delivering benchmarks, driving change
This project, conducted by our Ruminant Population Health Research Group, is using multiple data sources to quantify antimicrobial use on UK sheep and beef farms. It also aims to improve understanding of farmer and vet decision making, with the overall objective of supporting the responsible, reduced use of antimicrobials.
We’ll be using a large-scale cross-sectional data set drawn from 800 UK farms and their veterinary practices to deepen our understanding of:
- total antimicrobial use
- the types of antimicrobials being used
- the ways antimicrobials are being used (curative, metaphylactic, prophylactic)
- practices and perceptions around their use
Throughout, we’ll be working closely with the funding body – The Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB), Beef and Lamb – to develop knowledge exchange material and make sure our findings impact antimicrobial use both at national policy and farm level.