UK - Red Tractor pig producers will be required to use the electronic medicine book (e-MB) to record the total collated antibiotics they administer to their herds every three months.
The pig industry has shown its support for the move which will help the sector better demonstrate how producers are reducing usage.
Robust data will also help RUMA’s (Responsible Use of Medicines in Agriculture Alliance)
Targets Task Force (TTF) to propose realistic reduction targets for the sector as national usage figures for UK pig holdings do not currently exist.
The e-MB is a website platform developed by AHDB Pork to record collated data on antibiotic usage in the pig sector.
Red Tractor-assured farms already record all medicines that are administered, but until now the e-MB has been optional.
Red Tractor’s sector chairman for pigs, Mike Sheldon, said: “Red Tractor farmers currently administer antibiotics as little as possible but as much as is required. The e-MB will provide that data to demonstrate this point to government and its agencies.
“During the recent Red Tractor standards consultation we asked the whole industry for their comments and have received overwhelming support from retailers, trade associations and animal welfare groups.
“We appreciate that this will be new to most producers but electronic data will help the pig industry to play its part in tackling antimicrobial resistance – an issue which affects all livestock farmers.”
From November producers must have data from the previous two quarters uploaded to the e-MB on the total amount of antibiotics used, including in feed. Thereafter, it must be collated and uploaded on a quarterly basis.
Producers must start preparation for compliance with the new standards immediately. They are required to upload their antibiotic use for quarter two – 1 April to 30 June – and quarter three – 1 July to 30 September – by 1 November 2017 to ensure compliance with the Red Tractor scheme.
NPA chief executive Zoe Davies said: “This is a very important step forward for the pig industry. Collection and collation of on-farm antibiotic usage data is a key commitment of the NPA’s Antibiotic Stewardship programme.
“We are proud of how the pig industry is stepping up to the challenge and taking this big leap forward to demonstrate responsible use of antibiotics and reduce and refine usage where necessary.”
RUMA secretary general, John FitzGerald, said: “We are delighted that Red Tractor pig farmers will be required to use the e-MB as this will provide accurate information on antibiotic use in pig production.
“This will provide valuable data for farmers managing their antibiotic use and the RUMA TTF. Indeed, as the TTF is required to complete its work in 2017 it would be very helpful if Red Tractor pig farmers used the e-MB as soon as they can.”
Nick Major, chairman of the Agricultural Industries Confederation (AIC) said: “AIC fully supports Red Tractor’s move requiring producers to use the e-MB. Its members, who supply medicated pig feed, have been briefed that the frequency of sending in-feed medication reports to their farmer customers will increase from six monthly to quarterly.”
Martin Smith, AHDB Pork’s veterinary senior manager, said: “AHDB Pork welcomes this move by Red Tractor and although e-MB is straightforward to use, we are willing to help producers if they require assistance.”
A user guide for the e-MB is online to provide support to producers who need it. It can be found here.
The e-MB platform can be accessed by clicking here.
ThePigSite News Desk