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ForFarmers taking proactive steps to ensure the responsible use of antibiotics


ForFarmers are now able to provide their pig customers with the information they require to upload in feed medication into their electronic medicine book (eMB) for pigs database; an industry led initiative to support farmers record data on their usage of antibiotics more accurately.

ForFarmers ensuring responsible use of antibiotics

The pig industry is taking a proactive position in response to increased concerns over the usage of antibiotics which has led to both public and political pressure. The focus on AMR (antimicrobial resistance) has increased following the publication of the O’Neill report in May 2016 commissioned by the then Prime Minister, David Cameron.  One of the recommendations of the O’Neill report was to set reduction targets in antibiotic use.  These targets are currently being set by an industry working group. The eMB pigs is a convenient way to record and quantify usage so producers and their vet can review and optimise their antibiotic use.

Additionally, from this autumn entering data on the usage of antibiotics into eMB, including antibiotics administered in feed on a quarterly basis, will become a Red Tractor scheme requirement.

By linking with eMB, ForFarmers is able to support its customers by providing details (with the customers prior permission) of all medication supplied to the customer through ForFarmers feed into their eMB account.  The customer is then able to check and allocate these medicines appropriately to the relevant pig categories and time period.  This not only saves time for ForFarmers customers but, subject to the customer checking the details, ensure all medication delivered via ForFarmers feed is captured by the customer in their eMB submission.

The long-term view is that eMB-Pigs will help individual producers and their vets compare their on-farm usage to anonymised data from other similar units, to help them review their approach to antibiotic use and make management changes to reduce production costs.

In addition to providing a link to eMB, ForFarmers is continuing to ‘Rise to the AMR Challenge’. This was demonstrated through a series of AMR Roadshows held in partnership with AHDB Pork at the beginning of 2017. Producers and vets were able to their own develop their own plan on how to reduce antibiotic use.

Jonathan Farnhill, ForFarmers Business Unit Director said,

“ForFarmers is delighted to be able to demonstrate its commitment to its customers and the UK pig industry on this important topic through aligning with the pig industry eMB tool.  We recognise the importance of this issue to our customers and will continue to invest in nutrition innovations and work proactively to support producers and veterinarians to be their trusted partner in optimising antimicrobial medicine usage and wider pig nutrition solutions.

At a time where reducing antibiotics in the industry is of the upmost importance, a multi-factorial approach working with our customers, veterinarians and the wider pig industry is crucial to achieving the UK industry’s objective.  Our linking with the eMB tool will not only help our customers more efficiently work with the facts, but it reinforces to the UK Pork Industry that optimising the use of medication is a priority, and ForFarmers are here to support in this challenge”.