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Producers’ new strategies in response to loss of antibiotics

The 2 most common changes livestock and poultry producers are making in response to the loss of shared use antibiotics are increased use of vaccines and better sanitation and biosecurity.

That was a key finding of a new study just completed by Brakke Consulting, Inc. The survey, “New Strategies for Health and Performance in US Livestock and Poultry Production,” was conducted among beef, dairy, swine and poultry producers in late 2016.

New antibiotic regulations and the Veterinary Feed Directive was effective Jan. 1, 2017. Although there was some variation among species groups, vaccination protocols and improved sanitation were the top 2 strategies for 70% or more of all producers. Other strategies included reduced co-mingling of animals/birds, changes in feed additives, changes in facilities, use of immune modulators and changes in genetics.

Changes in feed additive use

The most common change in feed additives was increased use of direct-fed microbials, also called probiotics. Other less common feed additive changes included increased use of enzymes, prebiotics, oligosaccharides, organic acids and phytogenics.

More than 90% of poultry producers indicated that they were changing one or more feed additives in response to the loss of antibiotics, more than any other species group. Although the study was conducted late in 2016, only half of producers said they had already made changes to their operations.

Poultry sector most prepared for antibiotic loss

About 3/4 indicated that they were ready for the changes, however. The poultry sector was the most prepared. There was widespread concern about the potential impact of the loss of shared use antibiotics. Only 38% of producers believed that they would be able to maintain production and profit levels without them.

One comment

  • Cesar A. Lopes

    As far as I know, Denmark is the Country with the most detailed information on use of antibiotic on animals and human through the DANMAP. After the banning of Antibiotic Grouth Promoters back in 1999, the use of terapeutic antibiotics, which are exactly the same used for treating human is steadly growing above the growth of animal populations. How would one explain that: 1) Is the public aware that, in the name of public safety, more terepeutic antibiotics are being used in animals today? 2) What about the increase of animal waste and the resources needed to handle this after the AGPs banning? No question that enzymes, probiotics etc. can replace AGPs but again, 3) what is the burden for the environment (poorer feed conversion, need for more feed production, more energy -fuel, electricity) and the effect on animal welfare? If anyone is kindly willing to answer my questions, please answer only if you are able to answer each of my those. Kind regards, Cesar.

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