2023 saw the largest decrease in use for the past three years.
A recent report into antimicrobial use in dairy cows has shown a decreasing trend in use, with an average of 13.7 mg/kg PCU (population correction unit) used in 2023.
It also found a decline in antimicrobial use in 1,002 contributing dairy herds.
The Kingshay Antimicrobial Focus Report has been conducted annually since 2020, and records the antimicrobial use of dairy herds across the UK. The most recent report collected data from 1,002 dairy herds in the UK, to the year ending March 2023.
The results revealed that antimicrobial use had continued to decline year on year, with the latest statistics showing an average of 13.7 mg/kg PCU. This is the most significant decrease in three years.
In 2023, 52 per cent of herds managed to reduce their total antimicrobial use by an average of 7.4 mg/kg PCU compared to the previous year. This is an improvement on the 2021-2022 comparison, when 36 per cent of herds reduced usage by 5.9 mg/kg PCU.
This year’s report also identifies a decrease in total antimicrobial usage across all herds investigated, with the lowest 25 per cent quartile reducing their usage by an average of 3.64 mg/kg PCU.
These statistics have meant that all regions are currently sitting below the 2024 target of 17.9 mg/kg PCU.
The trends appear to confirm the findings of the Veterinary Antimicrobial Resistance and Sales Surveillance 2022 report, which found that sales for food-producing animals have reduced by 59 per cent since 2014.
Dr Tim Potter, co-author of the report, said: “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 as such there will always remain a role for them in animal health,”
“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."
The full report can be found here.
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