Report Synopsis

Microbial Management and its importance in the Dairy and Beef Industry

Eamon Sheehan

In general, agriculture is heavily criticised for many global issues such as green house gas emissions and the contribution to antimicrobial resistance (AMR). We can’t deny that we have to address all of these issues but equally we cannot be a scape goat for society.

Antimicrobial Resistance has been a hot topic in recent years, and rightly so considering that, penicillin, first discovered by Alexander Flemingin 1928, now is obsolete in many cases as it is no longer effective at combating common diseases.

Having always taken great pride in breeding and producing top quality, healthy animals, I always want to do better. As every farmer knows, we take things very personally when something goes wrong and the health status of our herd is affected. This is not only a financial burden but a physical and mental drain.

We improve things year on year by learning, with help from our vets and advisors. The area that always seems to be weakest at farm level, is our understanding of medication and what it actually does. A prime example of this is Penicillin and its inappropriate use, which has contributed to the growth of resistant microbes.

I feel AMR is not caused by purposeful negligence, more so it is due to our lack of education in this area and  nobody wants to solve a problem by creating a bigger one. Unfortunately, that is what we are currently doing and will continue to unless we learn from our mistakes.

I want my study to help us, as farmers, to understand and learn so we can secure our future use of antibiotics in agriculture. This can only be done if we commit to an antimicrobial stewardship

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