A study on antimicrobial resistance (AMR) has begun on Welsh farms, the University of Bristol has announced.
Part of the Arwain DGC project, which hopes to help combat antimicrobial-resistant bacteria in Wales, the study will analyse faecal samples from a group of Welsh farms over a 12 month period.
Involved in the study are Welsh dairy, beef and sheep farms, with 20 dairy, 10 beef, 10 sheep and 10 combined beef and sheep farms volunteering to take part.
Professor Matthew Avison, professor of Molecular Bacteriology at the university, said: "Sample collection started in mid-April, and we are very pleased with how it is going.
“Farmers have been engaging well with the study, and we are very grateful to them and the vets who have important relationships with the farms and are out collecting the monthly samples.
"Over the next 12 months, we aim to get a cross-section of animal samples – young, old, mixed species – to give us a ‘real-time’ picture of what is happening on farms at different points throughout the year.
"From our previous experience sampling dairy farms in the southwest of England, we know that, in February, there is very little AMR on farms, but in September, it is easily detectable.
“However, we have not sampled beef and sheep farms before, so to start seeing the samples come in is exciting."
The researchers will assess the abundance and types of antimicrobial resistant bacteria on the farms, to learn more about the factors associated with AMR.
Professor Kristen Reyher, professor of Veterinary Epidemiology and Population Health at the university's veterinary school, explained: "Farmers and vets have done so much together in the last few years to ensure they are being good stewards of important medicines like antibiotics.
“Our work comparing their antibiotic use and other management factors with the AMR we find on farms continues to help us unpick the relationships between what happens on farms and in the environment as well as better understand the selection and transmission of AMR.”