Kingshay Dairy Antimicrobial Focus Report shows decrease in use

Level of antimicrobials used by UK dairy farms continues to drop
calendar icon 31 January 2024
clock icon 2 minute read

Kingshay’s latest Dairy Antimicrobial Focus Report draws on data from 1,002 dairy herds across the UK in the year to March 2023 and shows total antimicrobial usage has declined year on year to an average of 13.7 mg/kg PCU, with a larger decrease witnessed in 2023 than in the previous three years.

When comparing 2023 and 2022, 52% of herds sampled by Kingshay, part of the VetPartners group, reduced their total antimicrobial usage by an average of 7.4 mg/kg PCU, compared to the previous year. This is a marked improvement on 2021-2022, where 36% of herds reduced their usage by 5.9 mg/kg PCU.

The report also highlights a decrease in total antimicrobial usage across all herds, with the lowest 25% quartile reducing on average by 3.64 mg/kg PCU.

The positive trends in Kingshay’s third Dairy Antimicrobial Focus Report also confirm the findings of the Veterinary Antimicrobial Resistance and Sales Surveillance 2022 Report, which recently shared that UK antibiotic sales for food-producing animals have reduced by 59% since 2014.

According to Kingshay, and Westpoint Farm Vets senior clinical director and report co-author, Dr Tim Potter, the change highlights the determination and perseverance of farmers and vets to continue to reduce antimicrobial usage even when targets are met and usage is already low.

“As we consider where we go from here it’s important to remember the target is not zero antimicrobial usage, antibiotics are a key medicine for the treatment of bacterial infections, and there will always remain a role for them in animal health,” he says.

“Whenever we use antimicrobials, it’s important we do so in a targeted manner, and we continue with the focus on their responsible use to preserve their effectiveness for both animal and human health.”

Breaking down the data into regions has shown every region has reduced its total antimicrobial usage compared to the previous report.

Kingshay antimicrobial product owner Christina Ford, who co-authored the report said: “All regions are now sitting below the 2024 target of 17.9 mg/kg PCU, with Wales showing a marked improvement with a rate of 31% reduction in antimicrobial usage.”

This year’s report also gives a detailed analysis of trends from the past five years of data.

“The group of highest users, when analysed as a quartile, reduced their usage. This was an improvement on last year when the group had increased their total antimicrobial usage. This shows everyone is making significant improvements,” says Ms Ford.

“We’re positive that higher users, due to disease outbreaks, will continue to work with their vets and advisors to help control these situations.”

The 2023 annual Kingshay Dairy Antimicrobial Focus Report can be accessed via the Kingshay website now.

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