People: Camilla Strang, Pablo Alarcon-Lopez, Jackie Cardwell, Lucy Brunton

Antibiotic usage (ABU) has become recognised as the main driver for the selection and spread of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) both within the human and livestock sectors. It is therefore critical that antibiotics are used in a rational and responsible way, and that this usage is monitored.

Recent research papers have indicated there is a need for enhanced data quality on ABU within the GB dairy industry. Enhanced data quality will provide the ability to evaluate the effect of measures to reduce ABU, and awareness campaigns on both the development of AMR and the health of the dairy cow. However, to achieve this, accurate herd level data capture systems need to be developed, ideally with end user input to maximise the benefit of using such tools to farmers.

This project seeks to facilitate the development of optimal ABU data capture mechanisms on farm. Through engaging with dairy farmers using questionnaires and participatory approaches, we hope to understand the drivers behind efficient ABU data capture and their association with ABU and health and welfare.

The findings from this project will be used to provide recommendations to help support the ongoing work in the development of optimum ABU data recording tools. In addition, the impact of changing antibiotic practices and the cost effectiveness of efficient data capture will be evaluated through economic models, with the aim of incorporating this information into data capture systems for dairy farmers to use when reviewing their ABU. Such a tool will encourage improved data capture by identifying to farmers where an economic benefit can be achieved to provide sustainability to their business, whilst maintaining optimum health and welfare of their animals.

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