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/kg in 2016 to 21mg/kg 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.
2017 usage data from a sample of dairy cattle comprising 31% of the national dairy herd has been reported as 17mg/kg, with HP-CIAs at 0.6mg/kg.
The sector has also identified that monitoring uptake of preventative measures, such as vaccinations for respiratory disease, could provide a useful indicator of potential antibiotic reduction. A new vaccination report from AHDB shows that vaccination levels in cattle are increasing.