PHWC Antimicrobial Usage

The Antimicrobial Usage subgroup supports change in the pig industry regarding responsible use of antimicrobials.

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The group seeks out information on all aspects of antimicrobial use by the pig industry and identifies gaps in knowledge.

The group recognises the need to safeguard antimicrobials for future generations and reduce the risk of resistance developing. We can only achieve this through an informed approach to antimicrobial use, based on evidence in optimising efficacy in antimicrobial administration, as well as investigating alternatives to antimicrobials wherever possible.

It is vital that the whole pig industry supports and adopts these good practice measures. The Antimicrobial Usage subgroup will share open and informed communications on its findings with the public and stakeholders.

Delivering practical advice for the responsible use of antibiotics on pig farms

The subgroup, in conjunction with AHDB, has developed a practical guide to the responsible use of antibiotics on pig farms. It provides practical advice for farmers and stockpeople on using any presentation of antibiotics when they are prescribed by a vet to treat a health issue.

Use the guidelines in conjunction with advice on optimal management practices. This will safeguard animal health and welfare without compromising the effectiveness of antibiotics for use in human and animal medicine.

Benchmarking your antimicrobial use

Use the electronic medicine book (eMB) to benchmark your farm's antimicrobial use against others and meet Red Tractor Assurance Pig Scheme requirements.  

Record and benchmark your antimicrobial use on eMB

Antibiotic Reduction Plan

The Antibiotic Reduction Plan (ARP) is a tool to help producers and vets work collaboratively on solutions for responsible reductions in the use of antibiotics. Persistently High Users (PHU)* of antibiotics are asked to complete an ARP in conjunction with their PVS vet.

The PHWC Antimicrobial Usage subgroup has produced a template for the ARP with actions and timescales for completion. It includes three sections:

  1. Record use from the start of the plan, documenting the progress over time; include a target to aim for.
  2. Vets will collate those antibiotics that make a significant contribution to total usage and reasons for use to help to prioritise and target areas of concern. This section will also include diagnostics, practical constraints and interventions already implemented.
  3. Identify and agree interventions to reduce antibiotic use. These actions might include staff training, internal and external biosecurity practices, diagnostics, or management practices.

Download the PHWC Antibiotic Reduction Plan template

Persistently High Users

Persistently High Users are defined as the top 5% of antibiotic users in each of the main categories of production recorded by eMB, except boar studs and gilt units.

The top 5% in each category will be calculated using the last four quarters’ rolling data.

Producers will be notified that they are a PHU when they submit their usage data for the current quarter on eMB. The unit vet will see this on the front page of the eMB report when they are confirming that this has been completed at their quarterly vet visit.

The top 10% of producers will be notified they fall into the top 10% over the last four quarters as an early warning system.