Antimicrobial use in ruminants


Beef & Lamb,Dairy
Project code:
01 April 2017 - 31 March 2019
AHDB sector cost:
Total project value:
Project leader:
Icon Software Ltd

About this project

The Problem

AHDB has commissioned the development of a pilot eMB-Cattle system which will be based heavily on the structure and learnings of eMB-Pigs. The pilot will record antimicrobial usage data across a number of beef and dairy farms.  The deliverables of the eMB-cattle will:

  • Provide a structure for national reporting of antimicrobial usage that complies with the European Surveillance of Veterinary Antimicrobial Consumption (ESVAC) calculation
  • Provide some initial benchmarks for monitoring antimicrobial use at farm level
  • Provide a lead for industry in terms of encouraging collation of medicine use at farm level
  • Provide a tool that can be used with the Farm Excellence Platform to promote responsible use of medicine messages to industry
  • Provide a database of medicine use that could potentially interface with the Livestock data Exchange Hub (LIDEH) to enable the sharing of medicine treatments for individual cattle across the supply chain
The specification for the eMB-Cattle has been adapted to be suitable for both beef and dairy cattle by enabling individual animal treatment entry and also additional reporting capabilities which provide details of all medicine treatments over time and by age category.

Aims & Objectives

1 Objective

  • To implement a pilot electronic medicine book (eMB) that will capture antibiotic use capture dairy and beef cattle for analysis at a farm and national level.

2 Key elements

  • Based on basic structure of eMB-Pigs
  • Flexible facilities for data entry of farm and product use details, including options such as national databases, third party software, multiple records imported via a spreadsheet and manual entry
  • Pilot data entry from a minimum of 200 beef farms and 100 dairy farms, some farms maybe mixed including both beef and dairy cattle on the same farm; beef farms will include a range of production systems including breeding herds, finishers, calf rearers etc


1 Content

Where the web application refers to pig production in page text, prompts and help content, then this will be changed to cattle, or reference specific dairy or beef terms as appropriate.   Specific changes are listed in Table1.  Further changes will be identified during the testing phase and these will be implemented before final release of the final pilot version.

2 Data entry options

Cattle data will be input on an individual animal basis, although the option to record treatments to batches of cattle should be available.   The unique animal identification will be the official UK eartag where available but there needs to be the option to enter data using a management tag that can later be linked to the official UK eartag number. 
During the pilot phase the following data entry options will be tested:

  • Importing individual farm data from BCMS  - to get list of current animals on farm and list of cattle sold and those sold to slaughter during the period required for the ESVAC calculation
  • Importing data from farm management software
  • Importing data via bulk records eg from retailer supply chains via an excel file
  • Manual data entry

Up to 10 beef farms will be recruited by AHDB B&L to provide farm data from third party farm software.   These farms will also give permission for cattle data to be accessed from the Cattle tracing System (CTS) and imported that way.  In addition, multiple datasets will be provided from one data source and this data will be provided on an excel spreadsheet.

3 Administrator rights

AHDB administrator rights should be available with the same privileges as in eMB-Pigs, including:

  1. Reviewing submitted returns
  2. Re-open returns to allow the correction of errors
  3. Monitoring of system activity log by user/holding
  4. Monitoring system uptime
  5. Define dropdown list contents such as reason for treatment

4 VMD Active Ingredient data

A list of veterinary antibiotic products licensed for cattle (or of all veterinary products licensed for farm animals) will be made available from VMD and this will be accessed by the eMB daily to ensure the latest list is always available to users.

5 Calculation of antibiotic use

Antibiotic use should be presented as:

  1. Total kg of active ingredient
  2. mg/kg PCU *
  3. Defined daily dose (DDDvet)*
  4. Defined course dose  (DCDvet)*

*as defined by ESVAC 

Separate presentation of HP-CIAs is required, alongside total antibiotic use.
6 Data dashboards and reporting

  • Units to be added to all charts
  • Antibiotic groups to be classified as in the Veterinary antimicrobial and sales surveillance (VARRS) report
  • User feedback will also provide ideas for improving presentations of these
  • Results must be able to be reported on individual farm basis and also by a group of farms e.g., farms in an identified vet group, development group, or supply chain; therefore need means of allocating farms to a number of groups
  • Reporting should be on a quarterly and annual basis

Data needs to be exportable as a csv file
7 Benchmarking within farm

  • Reports should present trends over time, eg quarterly reporting periods, by age category of cattle, by month of treatment
  • Benchmarking between farms
  • Reporting should present total use and use of CIAs by farm identifier, system type, geographical location eg England, Wales, Scotland