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 in the
farming industry and beyond.
It follows a new study by the Nottingham Vet School,
published in Veterinary Record, showing that, in a large
sample of dairy farms, 25% of farms used 50% 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 school’s Ruminant Population Health
Group has designed a new online tool – the Nottingham
University Dairy Antimicrobial Usage (AMU) Calculator –
that farmers and vets can use ‘in the eld’ to measure and
monitor their prescribing and use of antibiotics in dairy
cattle. It is a free download on the AHDB Dairy website.
This work is part of a series of practical, peer-reviewed
research and accompanying tools provided by the group
to help vets and farmers understand where they can really
make a difference to antibiotic use on farms. This is the first
peer-reviewed paper evaluating AMU in dairy herds.
Around 50 practices have begun using the calculator,
but the researchers say that antimicrobial benchmarking
needs to happen at a national level for the system to have
maximum impact on antibiotic use in the cattle sector.