Scientists in Sweden and Norway have highlighted the progress of research on key issues affecting the health of dairy herds. Action plans launched in Norway to help combat antibiotic resistance have shown significant results, according to Dr Olav Østerås, chair of the International Dairy Federation’s (IDF) Standing Committee on Animal Health and Welfare.
He said: “The battle against emerging antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is crucial in food safety as well as sustainable food production, and it is encouraging to see valuable research being focused in this area.”
Dr Østerås reported that an initial action plan in Norway, one of the European countries with the lowest use of antibiotics per animal, was successful and a new strategy was being pursued to achieve further reduction in mastitis treatment.
Dr Østerås said: “The task remains to optimise the use of antibiotics per animals that need treatment, as well as treating the right animal at the right time. Estimates show that optimising the dosage and treatment strategy in mastitis could reduce the use of antibiotics by 20-30% without any damage to animal welfare and food quality.” Dr Østerås stressed the importance of biosecurity between herds within farms and at a national level.
The IDF has an especially created taskforce dedicated to tackling AMR. The IDF, in its latest animal health publication, has also highlighted reports from Swedish scientists, Anna Ohlson and Sophie Andersson, on the significance of a successful biosecurity programme for cattle farms in Sweden.
They say that a recent programme is making progress and a higher level of biosecurity in cattle herds is now necessary given changes in herd sizes and public health concerns, such as AMR.