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22 Aug 2022

Avoid excessive use of antibiotics

The rising use of antibiotics is leading to more medicine-resistant bacteria, making different illnesses harder to treat. To prevent the further emergence and spread of antibiotic resistance, we need to act jointly on a global scale.

With science-based genetics, we help you avoid the excessive and unnecessary use of antibiotics. We help you deliver high-quality and safe dairy and meat products for the world’s population.

Since their discovery, antibiotics have served as a cornerstone of modern medicine. However, the persistent overuse and misuse of antibiotics in human and animal health care have encouraged the emergence and spread of antibiotic resistance, which occurs when microbes, such as bacteria, become resistant to the drugs used to treat them.

At VikingGenetics, we understand the importance of reducing the use of antibiotics in dairy farming and we play an active role in continuing to breed the healthiest and most productive cattle in the world.

Holstein calf

Lowest use of antibiotics

This philosophy is reflected yet again in the figures for the sales in mg per PCU (Population Correction Unit) of veterinary antimicrobial agents marketed for food-producing animals, published in the latest report by the European Medicines Agency, European Surveillance of Veterinary Antimicrobial Consumption “Sales of veterinary antimicrobial agents in 31 European countries in 2020”. 

According to EMA, Sweden, Finland and Denmark are among the EU countries with the lowest use of antibiotics in livestock.

The amount of veterinary antimicrobial agents sold in the different countries is a factor linked to the animal demographics in each country.

PCU is the term used to estimate animal populations in individual countries. In other words, it is an animal biomass estimate based on the number of animals where 1 PCU equals 1 kg of live animal weight.

All figures are stated in milligram (mg) of veterinary antimicrobials purchased for every kilogram (kg) of livestock biomass. This enables comparisons of the use of antibiotics in different countries.

The graph includes the European countries with > 200,000 tonnes PCU for cattle. Sales in mg/PCU are weighted according to the proportion of cattle to all food-producing animals in each country.

Source:  Adapted from the report by the European Medicines Agency, European Surveillance of Veterinary Antimicrobial Consumption, 2021. ‘Sales of veterinary antimicrobial agents in 31 European countries in 2019 and 2020’ EMA/58183/2021

Sales of veterinary antimicrobial agents in 31 European countries in 2019 & 2020

Breed for stronger resistance to diseases

Sustainable dairy farming is not possible without healthy, robust and fertile cows. Breeding for trouble-free cows that support a high lifetime production is the cornerstone of your sustainable and profitable dairy business.

Is it possible to improve the health of your livestock, and therefore animal welfare, and maintain high production levels?

Yes, it is possible to accomplish when you breed for healthier animals. As you record fewer disease cases for each generation, your investment will pay off all the more. The genetic improvement that you achieve is permanent and it accumulates through generations.

The prevalence of different health problems varies widely from farm to farm. No matter what production system you use, or what your current management level is, with VikingHolstein, VikingJersey and VikingRed you can achieve greater efficiency and reduce your costs by breeding for stronger resistance to diseases.

You can breed for improved health and reproduction and at the same time increase the production level of milk and solids in your cows. With a balanced breeding approach these are realistic goals to achieve.

Jersey cow

Ensure good udder health with optimal dry cow management routines

The dry period is a crucial time for ensuring good udder health and a healthy start to the next lactation. During the dry period the cow and her udder are preparing for the next lactation, so any problem during the dry period will have a negative effect on the cow’s overall well-being and milk production after calving.

Conventional dry cow therapy, also known as blanket dry cow therapy, where all cows receive antibiotic treatment prior to drying off, is a widely used practice to prevent mastitis in some countries.

However, this leads to excessive and often an unnecessary use of antibiotics in the herd and is therefore problematic. You should avoid treating all cows with antibiotics prior to drying off.

Selective dry cow therapy can be used to reduce the number of treated cows. Based on cell count and mastitis history you can identify which animals need treatment (cows with cell count >100,000).

Learn more about dry cow management
VikingRed cow