RUMA (responsible use of medicines in agriculture alliance) has just released a new report on antibiotic use in cattle, specifically looking at dairy trends and use by beef farm type in the UK. It gave some good insights so we thought it would be interesting to cover it.

The key findings:

  • Overall antibiotic use has reduced across dairy and beef sectors between 2015 and 2019, and there is a marked reduction for the Highest Priority CIA’s
  • All sectors show a high percentage of lower users and a relatively small number of farms accounting for a high percentage of antibiotic use.
  • Within the beef sector, relative use is highest in the rearer farms
  • The use of oral products and tetracyclines is significantly higher in rearer and finisher farms. The use of oral powders has increased in both of these farm types between 2015 and 2019
  • Products that are known to be used for antibiotic footbaths under the cascade has decreased across both the dairy and beef farms

Overall, this is a great analysis and we think it’s a reflection of how much hard work has been put in to reduce antibiotics; though this is only a sample so might not be representative across the whole of the sector! Despite this, it’s interesting to see that in dairy, there is no clear link between farm size and antibiotic usage. The graph below shows the mg/kg use across dairy farms in the analysis. Ask us for your up to date mg/kg to see where you are in comparison.

On the beef side however, rearer and finishers came out on the higher side for oral and tetracycline use. This is probably due to the risk factors around bringing lots of calves together from multiple holdings, creating a high disease incidence in youngstock – a difficult situation to manage.