The dairy sector has identified meaningful objectives for reducing, replacing or refining antibiotic use.
They include halving use of the highest-priority Critically Important Antibiotics (HP-CIAs) by 2020, and reducing total antibiotic use across dairy farming by 20% by 2020. This means a reduction from an estimated baseline of 26.2mg/PCU in 2015 to 21mg/PCU in 2020.
Other targets include reductions in use of intra-mammary tubes to treat clinical mastitis, and an increase in use of teat sealants at drying off, indicating a swing to less use of dry cow therapy.
On 27 October 2017 it was announced by the Veterinary Medicines Directorate that dairy cattle in the UK had managed to halve use of HP-CIAs between 2015 and 2016. Alongside this there was a 9% increase in mg/PCU antibiotics used, and a 5% fall in Defined Course Doses (DCDVet). The reason for the increase in mg/kg but reduction in DCDVet is due to a switch away from HP-CIAs to non HP-CIAs, which have a higher amount of active ingredient per course than HP-CIAs.
The dairy sector is overall considered a lower user of antibiotics, but is nonetheless committed to good stewardship.
For case studies, inspiration and technical tools to help farmers and vets reduce, replace or refine antibiotic use, visit the Ideas Hub.