RUMA position on feeding waste milk to calves

RUMA has issued a new position on feeding calves waste milk from cows treated with antibiotics. It says: “Waste milk (excluding colostrum*) from cows under the statutory withdrawal period for antibiotics should not be fed to youngstock. Based on current evidence it is recommended that a practical solution for on-farm disposal is to dispose of waste milk in the slurry pit. RUMA encourages further research into disposal options to identify practical alternatives and to gain a better understanding of any potential environmental interactions associated with disposal via this route.”

This statement has been issued following a comprehensive review carried out by The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) of the risks for the development of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) due to feeding of calves with milk containing residues of antibiotics.

*Colostrum from treated cows can be fed to newborn calves for the first 24 hours of life as the benefits to calf health are, based on current evidence, viewed to outweigh any potential negatives.  AHDB has further detailed information about feeding colostrum and newborn calf health.