Factors influencing dairy cattle farmer use of antimicrobials on farms in New South Wales, Australia

E. Doyle, J. Heller, J. M. Norris

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Antimicrobial use (AMU) in the food chain is a potential driver of antimicrobial resistance. Despite Australia's strong regulation of AMU limited to veterinary prescriptions, a proportion of empirical antimicrobial treatments are administered by dairy farmers to manage common cattle health problems. This cross-sectional survey identified key influences on AMU by dairy cattle farmers within New South Wales, Australia, to detect opportunities for antimicrobial stewardship (AMS) engagement. The study identified existing relationships, resources and attitudes of the dairy farmers that could be optimised for on-farm AMS strategies. Farmers were most highly influenced by veterinary advice and clinical signs of the animal followed by the withholding period and the potential for antimicrobial resistance development. Farmers' high confidence regarding their own knowledge of antimicrobials (>90%), their high regard for veterinary advice (>90%) and high rate of veterinary health care plan use (69%) provides a strong framework to build the profile and practice of AMS on dairy farms. Positive engagement by dairy farmers (survey response of 20%), was achieved by working with the NSW Food Authority. Despite respondents reporting low reliance on formal (government and commercial) organisations for information about AMU, their engagement demonstrates an opportunity for groups with unparalleled access to dairy farmers to drive AMS. An association between frequent use of veterinary advice and respondents keeping ceftiofur on-farm requires further investigation. Quantitative and qualitative analysis of on-farm resources, decision-making, and practices is required to understand how practices relate to veterinary advice and accepted standards of appropriate AMU on dairy farms.

Original languageEnglish
JournalAustralian Veterinary Journal
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2022


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