Helping beef and sheep producers understand best practice around medicine use is the focus of a new publication from AHDB Beef & Lamb.
The Better Returns Programme manual, Using medicines correctly for Better Returns, outlines the key principles when using medicines on farm, including making sure the correct medicine and dose is used at the right time, and that it is administered and stored correctly.
The manual also explains the importance of using antibiotics and anthelmintics (wormers) responsibly to avoid the build-up of resistance. Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) and anthelmintic resistance are major concerns for the agricultural industry, with AMR presenting a risk to both human and animal health. Anthelmintic resistance in worms and liver fluke, which is thought to be present on many farms, does not pose a risk to human health, but is a threat to profitable farming.
Katie Brian, AHDB senior knowledge transfer manager, said: “When used correctly, medicines improve the health and welfare of livestock and contribute to the provision of safe, secure and sustainable food. However, incorrect use can prevent medicines working effectively, meaning producers don’t get value for money, as well as contributing to issues such as AMR.
“To help tackle AMR, it is important to ensure that when prescribed, antibiotics are used correctly and at the right dose. Government guidelines now state that antibiotics should not be used as a preventative measure and producers should ensure high levels of hygiene and provide good conditions for stock instead.”
Driving uptake of best practice around on-farm medicine use and encouraging producers to reduce their use of antimicrobials is a key activity within AHDB Beef & Lamb’s strategic objective of accelerating the productivity growth of beef and sheep production.
The Using medicines correctly for Better Returns manual can be found at beefandlamb.ahdb.org.uk/returns.