The Livestock and Meat Commission for Northern Ireland (LMC) is encouraging all interested veterinary practices to apply for funding before the 31 March deadline.
Thanks to a research initiative in Northern Ireland entitled ‘STrategic AntiMicrobial use in Dairy, Beef and Lamb Production’ (STAMP), a software application to benchmark antibiotic use is now widely available. LMC will fund the installation cost of the ‘STAMP AMU Benchmarking Tool’ in practices across Northern Ireland. The tool can be used to report antibiotic usage for the purposes of the Northern Ireland Beef and Lamb Farm Quality Assurance Scheme (NIBL FQAS), thereby replacing the need for vets to fill out the existing paper form. Funding for software installation is due to expire on 31 March 2022. All interested veterinary practices should make an application in advance of this date.
Demonstrating the responsible use of antibiotics is a critical component of food production. The beef, sheep and dairy industry must respond to the needs of its customers. However, a key challenge faced by vets and producers is gathering accurate information on the purchase and use of medicines on farms. The benchmarking tool developed in partnership with the STAMP project partners and Farmvet Systems is a user-friendly web-based platform that captures and monitors antibiotic prescription use at farm level. With the appropriate permissions in place, the tool aggregates and standardises existing data sets from vet practices, APHIS or vet entered records in VetIMPRESS to produce AMU reports in a few simple steps; with significant savings made on the time it takes to produce reports manually. The tool also provides producers with key information that supports decisions to improve animal health and enables vets to have effective discussions with their clients on how best to optimise the use of antibiotics.
Encouraging veterinary practices to avail of the funding opportunity, Colin Smith, Industry Development Manager at The Livestock and Meat Commission for Northern Ireland said: “LMC is delighted that to date there has been an encouraging level of interest in the STAMP AMU Benchmarking Tool. LMC has funded the installation cost of this software in several local veterinary practices and we are pleased that feedback on the software has been very positive.”
Colin confirmed that the funding allocated to this scheme is set to expire on 31 March. He went on to state that having seen the administrative and time saving benefits this software offers it is an opportunity not to be missed.
Colin continued: “I would whole-heartedly encourage veterinary practices to avail of this opportunity to help the industry meet the challenges ahead around strategic use of antibiotics. The application offers a quick and easy way to monitor antibiotic use with minimal data input.
“The tool’s ease of use for vets is critically important and LMC remains committed to working with the Department for Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) to streamline the process of granting permissions to draw down information from APHIS for the purposes of STAMP AMU Benchmarking however work is underway to improve this as soon as possible and before consultation begins on making use of the tool mandatory for NIBL FQAS members.”
George Brownlee, CEO of Farmvet Systems, continues: “The important area of antibiotic use in livestock production is increasingly coming under the spotlight. A capability of our VetIMPRESS platform is the capacity for vets to effectively monitor medicine usage. We are pleased to put our expertise towards the development of this industry-wide platform, which will lead to more responsible use of antibiotics for the long-term benefit of farmers, their animals and the public.
“The STAMP AMU Benchmarking Tool will enable vets to make informed decisions as advisors and provide an effective means for vets and producers to work together.”
Funding will be available to veterinary practices in Northern Ireland until 31st March 2022 and will cover the cost of the software installation. Vets who wish to use the tool should contact Farmvet Systems Ltd directly to organise this.
For more information visit www.vetimpress.com/stampni.