Lambing protocol changes can lead to reduced antibiotic use

As the lambing season approaches, Welsh farmers are making simple changes to livestock protocols to reduce the need to use antibiotics and so help address the risk of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) in animals and the environment.

Highlighting the issue of AMR is Arwain DGC (Defnydd Gwrthficrobaidd Cyfrifol / Responsible Antimicrobial Use), a programme that helps farmers, equine keepers and vets in Wales reduce the need to use antibiotics and anthelmintics.

Through training, applying new technology, data gathering, and improving understanding, Arwain DGC is demonstrating how and why taking steps to reduce the need for antibiotics can also improve animal health, increase productivity, and save money.

As part of its work, Arwain DGC has established a group of ‘Proof of Concept’ (PoC) farms, drawn from across Wales, and comprising of four dairy, four sheep, and four beef farms.

In Carmarthenshire, PoC farmer, Gwen Price is gearing up for the arrival of the first lambs of what will be a five-month long lambing period that’s due to begin around Christmas Day.

With her father Alun and brother Dyfan, Gwen farms 330 acres near Llangadog with a total of 1,100 ewes, and producing an average of 1,550 lambs each year. The beef and sheep enterprise includes three holdings – including the main holding at Goleugoed – and consequently there are three separate flocks encompassing several sheep breeds.

Gwen said, “Every farm with us is different, and one is more heavily stocked than others. Lambing begins around December, but our highest point is March/April. Last year we lambed 500 ewes over two weeks, but fortunately, the mild weather meant we could turn them out quickly.”

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