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Nuffield Farming report explores nutritional strategies to combat antimicrobial resistance in livestock

09 June 2021

Veterinary Surgeon and Trouw Nutrition Ireland Technical Manager Mark Little NSch 2019 has published his Nuffield Farming report titled "Feeding for Heath – Combating Antimicrobial Resistance", sponsored by The Thomas Henry Foundation.

“As healthy animals do not need antibiotic treatment, keeping them healthy is an important strategy to prevent the development of antibiotic resistance,” Mark explains. “It is important to consider cattle health as an interconnected relationship between genetics, farm management, vaccination and nutrition and to take a holistic view to choose the area to make the most difference on-farm.”

Mark outlines several nutritional products such as probiotics, prebiotics, essential oils, plant extracts, plant fibres, and quorum sensing which can support herd health by helping cattle resist bacterial challenges that would normally cause disease. However, he highlights that none of the currently provide a ‘silver bullet’ solution and they should never be used as a substitute for good management.

“These products should not be considered as a replacement for antibiotics and a good nutritionist can help with recommendations on how to place them to achieve the best on-farm results. If these products are used on the correct farm and at the correct time, particularly on farms already good at herd management, they can result in herd health benefits. Although this is an investment in the herd, there is growing consumer interest in purchasing food products that are from high health herds.

Mark calls for further research and investment into these solutions; “it is important to continue to improve nutritional solutions to increase cattle health as in the future. Antibiotics may not always be so cost effective, and in the future, we may need alternative options,” concludes Mark.

Mark was one of the first Scholars to have his report accredited by the Institute of Biology, Environmental and Rural Sciences (IBERS), part of Aberystwyth University.

The report is now available on the Nuffield Farming website or can be downloaded directly here.

Mark also presented his findings during the recent Nuffield Farming Virtual Mini-Conference Series. His presentation can be seen on Nuffield Farming’s YouTube channel.



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