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Calculation of Antibiotic Use on Farms

30 May 2013

NETHERLANDS - The question of how much antibiotics to use on farms, and how this compares to other farms can be answered by using the Wageningen website to calculate the antibiotic use on farms.

Currently the website is available for the calculation of antibiotic use on farms with the following animal species:


  • Dairy cows
  • Veal calves
  • Rose veal calves (for young beef production)


  • Sows / piglets
  • Fattening pigs (finishers)


  • Broilers

Other species

  • Dairy goats
  • Sheep for meat production

Daily dosages

Antibiotic use cannot be computed by simply counting all the purchased quantities. Of some products a relatively large quantity is needed, and of other products much less, for the same treatment. Because of these differences in potency the numbers of ‘daily dosages’ are calculated. Subsequently, the numbers of daily dosages may be added up, resulting in a total antibiotic use level, expressed in daily dosages per average present animal per year. The only necessary input is: average animal numbers and the purchased antibiotic quantities. To do this, monthly bills from the vet may be used, but time could be saved by asking vets for an annual report.

What needs to be filled in?

To gain insight into the antibiotic use on farms, three subsequent steps are required:

  1. choose the animal species;
  2. define the period and enter the corresponding average number of animals;
  3. enter the purchased antibiotic quantities.

What is the output?

  1. Number of daily dosages
    The number of days per year that an animal on a farm (on average, for the entire group) was treated with antibiotics. This is called "daily dosages of antibiotics per animal year".
  2. Comparison with other farms
    A scatterplot with the daily dosages and the animal numbers of all available farms, in which farms are recognizable by a different colour. So it can be seen at a glance how the farm scores, compared to the others. Please note that a lower antibiotic use is not always better!

To register, please click here.

TheCattleSite News Desk

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