We’ve recently been pouring over the new Dairy Antimicrobial Focus Report which was launched by Kingshay in February. A few of the key highlights for you:

  • 79% of herds achieved the Ruma 2020 target of 21 mg/kg PCU by March 2021
  • 98% reduction in use of critically important antibiotics from 2018 to 2021 period
  • Teat sealant usage was not met and has actually reduced since 2018

The report is based on a robust data set which was collected from 940 dairy farmers and 156 vet practices. It provides a reliable summary of trends in antimicrobial use in dairy since 2018, which is a great insight into the hard work dairies have put in over the years. The overall message from the report is positive. 79% of herds met the Ruma 2020 target by March 2021, and the decline in use of critically important antimicrobials was outstanding, a drop from 1.1 mg/ kg PCU in 2018 to 0.02 mg/kg PCU in 2021. The data also shows a large amount of variation between individual herd results, which ranged from 0.28 to 87.51mg/kg PCU in 2021 – that’s quite a range.

Interestingly, Kingshay found that it wasn’t always the same herds in the highest 25% antimicrobial usage year-on-year, nor was it necessarily the same farms consistently using the lowest quantities. Additionally, there is no correlation at all when looking at different herd characteristics such as yield, herd size, breed. This demonstrates that it’s possible to make strides in reducing antimicrobials use in any farming system.

Selective dry cow therapy is highlighted as a key strategy to move from treating every cow, known as prophylactic use, to using antimicrobials only as needed.

The teat sealant usage in 2021 was at 0.39 courses/cow, which was below the Ruma target of 0.7 courses per cow. Last year, 37% of herds were not using teat sealants at all, so there’s definitely room for improvement. Plunging straight into doing selective dry cow therapy without training and protocols is very risky, therefore we recommend speaking to us first if you want to implement it on farm or expand what you’re already doing. Appropriate training around use of teat sealants is essential, as improper use and poor hygiene protocols can result in bacteria being trapped inside the udder, having the opposite effect on cow health and productivity.

Our tech’s can carry out selective dry cow therapy for you, or deliver some on farm training to your team. Please feel free to speak to Nat, Emily or the practice for more information.