Measuring antibiotic use
A number of livestock sectors have published guidelines on how antibiotic use on-farm should be recorded and measured.
It has been a more complex task to establish the best metrics to measure antibiotic use in beef herds due to the range of systems in operation, from dairy calf rearing to suckler cows, store cattle growing to finishing. Following an extensive consultation, recommendations for measuring and comparing the use of antibiotics on beef farms was published in February 2020 on the Cattle Health and Welfare Group (CHAWG) website.
Advice on measuring antibiotic use in sheep production was published in 2019 by the Sheep Antibiotic Guardian Group and is detailed in its Calculation of metrics for benchmarking antibiotic use on sheep farms report.
The method of measuring and recording antibiotic use in pigs is explained as part of the protocols for uploading data to the sector’s e-Medicine Book (eMB). Uploading usage data to this portal is a requirement of Red Tractor assurance and therefore antibiotic use data for over 90% of animals in the sector is captured in this way. The User Guide published in 2017 explains the metrics on p29, and follow-up advice added in 2018 adjusted the category names.