Agroscope Liebefeld-Posieux Research Station ALP, Schwarzenburgstr.161, CH-3003 Bern

Antibiotic use in 2003 and 2004 on dairy farms

Until now only rough estimations concerning the amounts of antibiotics used in milk production were available. Our objective was to obtain more reliable information on the average quantity and type of antibiotic used on dairy farms by evaluating the stipulated treatment records for milk production farms. The evaluation of the recordings from a representative sample of farms for the years 2003 and 2004 showed that the amount of antibiotics used in milk production has clearly decreased in the last 10 to 15 years. On average, 83 treatments with antibiotics per 100 cows per year were encountered. About one third of the cows were dried off with antibiotics and in 25 percent of the cows 1.2 quarters per year were treated. These two indications were by far the main reasons for the usage of antibiotics. However, large differences concerning the kind and number of treatments from farm to farm were observed. The choice of the antibiotics used in a given situation seems to be largely dependent on the veterinarian. Current or planned evaluation and monitoring should yield more exact and reliable data about the usage of antibiotics in veterinary medicine in the future. The easiest way to further decrease the quantity of antibiotics used in milk production is to reduce the application of antibiotics at drying off.

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