Know How / Medicines

News and advice on the responsible use of livestock medicines, including antibiotics, wormers and vaccination. See best practice on medicine use to help avoid resistance to antibiotics and wormers and see how other farmers have reduced antibiotics successfully on their farms.

Advice and tips


How MilkSure training helps cut medicine milk failures

About three farms in Britain have a bulk tank milk antibiotics failure every day. It is illegal to sell milk from an individual cow that has medicine residues above the…


Q&A: What is lungworm and how does it affect cattle?

Lungworm is a parasitic infection of the bovine respiratory tract ingested from grazing contaminated pasture. It is becoming more prevalent in cattle – both adults and youngstock and as farmers…


Everything you need to know about gastro-intestinal worms

There are more than 20 different species of worms and fluke that affect cattle in the UK. Knowing what they are, when they pose a risk to your stock and…


A guide to effective wormer use to reduce resistance risk

White wormer accounts for nearly half of all wormers used in the UK, yet resistance to it is present on almost all farms. This is affecting sheep performance and profitability,…

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Opinion: Use vet medicines wisely for clean bill of health

The livestock industry is once again in the spotlight when it comes to farm animals and antibiotics. MPs on the select committee on science and technology have this week hit…

Safe use of medicines campaign: Industry view

Key industry figures and organisations voice their support for Farmers Weekly's Making Sense of Medicines campaign Responsible Use of Medicines in Agriculture Alliance (RUMA) RUMA is delighted to support Farmers…

Safe use of medicines campaign: Dairy farmer's view

Tighter regulation on medicine use is a hot topic, but are the proposals being put forward the right ones? Gwyn Jones, dairy producer and chairman of the European Platform for…

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Case studies


Thermal imaging cuts antibiotics use on Northants beef farm

Livestock manager George Coles thinks thermal imaging is set to become a must-have for all farmers and could help reduce antibiotics use by enabling rapid disease detection and treatment. Mr…


How a farmer tackled watery mouth without antibiotics

Shropshire sheep and beef farmer James Evans was concerned about the effect the routine use of antibiotics, used to tackle disease at lambing, was having on the health of his…


How a dairy farmer saved £60,000 in mastitis control

Implementation of the AHDB dairy mastitis control plan (DMCP) at one Shropshire farm has seen incidences of the condition halved in three years despite the milking herd increasing. In 2014…


How Dutch farmers reduced antibiotics use by 60%

Strict regulation has more than halved Dutch antibiotics use in recent years as a new era in farm health planning and probiotics has driven livestock systems. More frequent veterinary visits,…

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Sector-specific antibiotics targets and what they mean

Sector-specific targets surrounding antibiotics use have been developed by a “targets taskforce” made up of farmers and vets and facilitated by the Responsible Use of Medicines in Agriculture Alliance. Targets vary for…


How sheep colostrum trials are helping to reduce antibiotics

Trials are comparing two lamb blood tests in a bid to reduce antibiotics use on farms through optimising ewe nutrition and health.  A series of farm studies has compared refractometer tests…


How the sheep industry plans to reduce antibiotics use

Sheep industry bodies are collecting data on the sector’s antibiotics usage to help develop a strategy that promotes best practice and cuts the risk of developing drug resistance. Worldwide concern about…


Antibiotics reports spark debate in farm industry

Campaigners pushing for a dramatic reduction in farm antibiotics use have set out a series of recommendations that they claim would reduce consumption in the dairy, pig and poultry sectors.…

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Drive to cut antibiotics praised by senior health official

The livestock sector has won praise from a senior human health official after figures showed dramatic cuts in antibiotics use and almost total compliance with EU medicine laws. During an…


Wormer resistance case a wake-up call for best practice

The UK’s first case of resistance to a monepantel wormer is a wake-up call for sheep farmers and advisers to follow best practice guidelines, an industry expert has warned. It has…


Subsidised test available for ewe abortions

Sheep flocks with abortion rates higher than 2% can have ewes tested for two key loss-causing pathogens under a subsidised diagnostic scheme. Toxoplasmosis and enzootic abortion account for about two-thirds…


Antibiotics use halved in the pig industry over two years

The UK pig industry reduced its antibiotics use by 28% in 2017, meaning that in the past two years, use has more than halved. The latest reduction brings the use…

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Sanderson Farms says antibiotic-free chicken is a ‘gimmick’

US poultry integrator Sanderson Farms has said it will not phase out antibiotics from its farms, taking a position that runs contrary to many other similar companies in the USA.…


Farmers warned over flukicide resistance

A rise in liver fluke cases and resistance to products is proving a headache for many farmers across the UK. Scottish upland sheep and suckler cow producer Neil Gourlay, who…

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