NMR’s antibiotic monitoring and recording service FarmAssist is now monitoring more than 1,000 dairy herds across Britain. Launched in February 2019, the service, is operated through NMR’s National Milk Laboratories and records medicines dispensed to dairy farms by participating vets. More than 180 vet practices are now involved.
“The service helps to support responsible medicine use on farm,” says NMR vet Eamon Watson. “It’s available to vet practices, who record medicine use by farm, and the data is then used to produce detailed antibiotic use reports.”
An updated suite of reports is now available in the latest version of FarmAssist, introduced in October 2020. This brings improved antibiotic use benchmarking and detailed intramammary use reports, including estimates of selective dry cow therapy rates and use of teat sealants, and use of antibiotics in young stock.
“Version 2 reports are a step up and provide vets and producers with a rolling picture of overall antibiotic use, as well as use by different types, for example milking cow and dry cow tubes,” says Mr Watson. “The reports also show how the ‘best’ 25% of farms are doing, so it’s easy to see how yours compares with other herds.
“This level of detail is great for discussion between the vet and producer to pinpoint areas for improvement and fine-tune the herd health plan.
“The service provides a standardised and reliable recording and reporting system for antibiotic use across our dairy farms,” he adds.
FarmAssist is supported by milk buyers, with Arla promoting the service to its farmer suppliers and vets since its introduction. More milk buyers are now actively promoting the service to their farmer members.
“Producers complete a consent form to allow their vets to share medicine records with FarmAssist,” explains Mr Watson. “We then produce reports using standard metrics which vets can access through the web portal.”
The service is open to all farms where their milk buyer is using the service and it is free for producers and vets to use.
New FarmAssist co-ordinator
NMR has recruited Amy Blank as FarmAssist co-ordinator. A Harper Adams graduate in animal management, health and welfare, Amy’s role includes liaising with participating vets and milk buyers and generating reports.