Article Text

Download PDFPDF
Evaluation of veterinary antimicrobial benchmarking systems at farm-level in Europe: implications for the UK ruminant sector
  1. Aimee-Louise Craig,
  2. Stephanie Buijs and
  3. Steven Morrison
  1. Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute Hillsborough, Hillsborough, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Aimee-Louise Craig, Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute Hillsborough, Hillsborough BT26 6DR, UK; aimee.craig{at}


Background A number of European countries currently conduct mandatory farm-level benchmarking for antimicrobial usage (AMU). This review describes the systems used, with emphasis on metric type and practical implications.

Methods This report describes examples of four types of metrics used to measure AMU: count-based, mass-based, daily dose-based and course-based, each with its own advantages and disadvantages.

Results The Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark and Switzerland use daily dose-based metrics to benchmark AMU at farm-level, but each country diverges from the European Surveillance of Veterinary Antimicrobial Consumption methodology in its own way, including how the population ‘at risk’ is calculated. Germany operates a count-based system. Threshold AMU values have been specified at farm-level in the Netherlands, Belgium and Denmark, and action is required from producers to reduce AMU above these values. The Netherlands and Belgium also benchmark veterinarians.

Conclusions For mixed species farms common in the UK and Ireland, splitting AMU by species is recommended. It is also recommended that high priority critically important antimicrobials are benchmarked separately to other antimicrobials. No one metric is optimum; however, for ruminant livestock a daily dose-based metric allows for country-specific adaptations which may allow a higher degree of precision at farm-level benchmarking in the UK and Ireland.

  • antimicrobials
  • resistance
  • livestock
  • legislation
  • public health
View Full Text

Statistics from


  • Funding This study was funded by the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Data availability statement Data sharing not applicable as no datasets generated and/or analysed for this study.

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.