Benchmarking beef cattle medicine use at farm level
This project was partially funded by The Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (www.ahdb.org.uk) to provide beef producers with the tools to:
- quantify and categorise medicine use,
- compare their use to other operations and
- make changes to on-farm practices that reduce, replace and refine medicine use while maintaining or enhancing cattle health and welfare.
The responsible use of medicines in farm animals is a key issue for consumers and producers. The majority (75%) of British consumers agree that farm animals should be treated with antimicrobials if this is the most appropriate treatment. In response to the growing health threat posed by antimicrobial resistance, targets have been set for medicine use on UK beef farms (RUMA, 2017).
Farmers and veterinarians must therefore demonstrate responsible and evidence-based farm medicines usage to maintain animal health and safe food production. Beef producers face a challenge in demonstrating where they sit in relation to targets for farm medicine use, as significant data gaps exist regarding the quantities and types of medicines used. It is difficult to address these until current levels have been established at the individual farm, regional and national levels.