The Nuffield Farming Conference was recently held in Newcastle Upon Tyne. Presenting his findings on "Alternatives to Antibiotics in Agriculture" was Aled Rhys Davies of Pruex.
Delegates learned of the issues of Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR), that have arisen from human misuse, but could well be blamed on agriculture unless the industry develop strategies to ensure prudent as opposed to excessive use of antibiotics. Aled stated that "We have evolved in line with bacteria, around 50% of a humans' body is made up of bacterial cells, so, we can't live without bacteria."
A lively questions and answers session followed where Aled was asked his opinion of improved genetics in the fight against AMR. His answer, which highlighted that bacteria breed faster than cows, eluded to the importance of using the genetics farmers already have to limit any risk of AMR, by working with their livestocks' defence systems to prevent infection or to limit the effect of an infection on the animal. For example, giving colostrum from dairy cows that don't have any bad bacteria in their udders and low somatic cell counts to newborn calves. These cows have the best immunity to the bugs present on the farm. There are two other types of dairy cows on the same farms:
- Cows with bad bacteria in their udders and low somatic cell counts
- Cows with bad bacteria in their udders and high somatic cell counts.
Neither of these cows demonstrate strong resilience to the bugs on the farm. The solution therefore is to:
- Identify the cows with the best resistance to the bad bugs on the farm
- Using the Herd Screen system from Pruex
- Collect and store their colostrum to ensure each calf gets the best chance of developing an immunity that can cope with the bad bugs on the farm
- Using the ColostroStart system from Pruex
Herd Screen is a product that forms part of a programme that ensures prudent use of antibiotics.
More information on ColostroStart can be gained from this video: