Cattle antibiotic use must be reduced, farmers agree

Over 80% of farmers agree they need to reduce antimicrobial use before they are forced to do so and have outlined areas where antibiotic use can be cut.

The Royal Association of British Dairy Farmers (RABDF) joined with the University of Bristol to quiz 322 farmers, farm managers, stock persons, students and veterinarians on their attitudes to and use of antibiotics in dairy and beef farming.

Farmers questioned said they believed they could cut their use of antibiotics by a third in dry cow therapy and a fifth in clinical mastitis over the next five years.

See also: Survey finds concern over UK livestock antibiotic use

Those questioned also believed:

  • Antibiotic use in calves could be cut by of 15%
  • Antibiotic dry cow therapy could be cut by 30%

Di Wastenage, RABDF Council member and dairy farmer says: “It would be interesting to explore these in more detail.

“The challenge remains of how to make reductions without impacting welfare,” she adds.

Ideas to help reduce the use of antibiotics

  • Selective dry cow therapy
  • Better uptake of vaccination
  • Use of fever tags and thermal imaging
  • Improvements to ventilation, housing and system