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New Entrants to Farming: Livestock Medicines and Use (Morayshire) – Event Summary

14 November 2017

Guest speakers, Donald and Serena from the Aberlour Vet Group and Billy from Elanco, presented information on livestock medicines, including responsible use, storage, administration, quarantine procedures and the reduction in resistance in the flock/herd.

Samantha Stewart, the New Entrants to Farming Morayshire group facilitator, began the meeting by welcoming all to the first meeting for the 2017/18 winter, running through the winter programme and introducing the guest speakers for the evening.

Donald from the Aberlour Vet Group highlighted the importance of the responsible use of livestock medicines on-farm to retain the range of products for livestock treatments into the future.  Donald concentrated particularly on the importance of reducing resistance to worming and antibiotic products, stressing that resistance to products could have a serious effect on the health of livestock and also business efficiency.

Serena, also of the Aberlour Vet Group, explained what a Suitably Qualified Person (SQP) was and their role within the agricultural industry in ensuring responsible use of medicine products.  She also highlighted the importance of using only the right products at the right time, and if they are at all required.  She also made the group aware of medicine administration and storage requirements.

Billy from Elanco, headed up a practical demonstration where he showed attendees how to calibrate an oral dosing gun before they were able to calibrate the equipment for themselves.  Each attendee received a calibration tube to take home to ensure the equipment they are using is working correctly.

Overall, there was some good discussion surrounding a number of issues surrounding livestock medicines which allowed the attendees to take home some very useful information that can be put into place on-farm in a practical situation.

Take home messages:

  • Reduce requirement for medicine treatment:
    • Follow farm health plan and vaccinate livestock.
    • Remedy any on-farm issues; e.g. improve ventilation in sheds to reduce pneumonia.
    • Where possible select livestock from known sources and/or health status to reduce introduction if infection on-farm.
    • Follow strict isolation and quarantine procedures of all animals brought onto the farm to reduce disease transfer or introduction of worm burden onto the ground. Where possible, operate a closed herd/flock policy.
    • Disinfect machinery and equipment entering the farm.
    • Get the basics right; e.g. livestock nutrition, housing, management, reduced stress etc. can all lead to reduced requirement for medicine use.
  • Dung sample livestock to determine if a wormer is required and to identify any resistance on-farm by sampling before and after any treatments.
    • The follow up dung sample is key to determining any levels of resistance on-farm.
  • All medicines should be stored in a secure location and also under the conditions stated on the label; e.g. label states medicine should be stored in the fridge, then it must be stored as such to ensure the medicines hold their efficacy.
  • Follow the administration technique and dosage rates of all products. If you are unsure ask your local vet or SQP who will be more than happy to help and demonstrate.
  • Work with your local vet to write up a health plan, which should be reviewed throughout the year and updated regularly.
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