The poultry farming industry is currently on schedule in meeting its targets when it comes to the limiting the use of antibiotics. Industry data shows the sale of antibiotics is currently at its lowest level since 1993 when data recording began.
Between 2014 and 2016, there was a 27% drop in their usage with 2016 recording the lowest level of antibiotic use in 24 years.
Over the same duration, there has been an 83% drop in the demand for the antibiotic Colistin. This is usually the antibiotic of last resort for various critical animal health and even human health infections. The industry has no doubt played a critical role in the eradication of widespread and sometimes indiscriminate antibiotic usage through proper disease control, stockmanship, stewardship as well as proper training on animal biosecurity.
The total sales of active ingredients have dropped significantly over the past few years and it has now reached the recommended 50mg/Kg. In 2016, antibiotic usage had dropped even further to 45mg/Kg.
Other sales that have gone down include those of fluroquinolones, which has dropped by 29% over the past one year. The sales of the third and fourth generation cephalosporins have also gone down by 12%.
Perhaps the most encouraging progress has been the reduction in the use of antibiotics in poultry meat. This has reduced from a high 48.8mg/Kg in 2014 to 17.1mg/Kg in 2016 showing that poultry farmers have been taking aggressive steps to cut down on the use of antibiotics in their concerns. In the turkey production sector, the usage of antibiotics has also dropped from 220mg/Kg in 2014 to 86.4mg.Kg in 2016, another drastic drop.
On the other hand, the use of Fluroquinolone has gone down to just about 0.1 tonnes. The third generation Colistin and cephalosprins seem to have been phased off from the poultry meat industry. There is no evidence of their usage in the industry.
This spells a huge success in the global war against Microbial resistance in the poultry industry and the animal meat farming industry in general.
There has also been increased openness in the sector that has encouraged all players to come out and share best practices with one another. This has in turn helped cut down the use of antibiotics by 71% over the past 4 years. Over the same period, the poultry meat industry has grown by 11%. It is an encouraging effort in stamping out the use of antibiotics.
The integrated nature of poultry farming industry in countries such as South Africa has also helped in the speedy implementation of antibiotic control measures. However, the biggest impact has been the general industry drive as well as ambition to significantly stamp out the indiscriminate use of antibiotics.
Moving onwards towards 2018-2020, the poultry industry is working hard to cut down the use of antibiotics even more by cutting it to 25mg/Kg in the poultry meat sector and 50mg/Kg in the turkey production industry.
Antibiotic-free meat products is the future and the efforts and the success of the industry in realizing this aim has been quite encouraging.