Electronic medicine book for pigs published
Published:  22 April, 2016

An electronic medicine book for pigs (eMB-Pigs) is now available for all UK pig producers. 

The book comes following increased concern over antibiotic usage, leading to the pig industry putting itself in a more informed position on its antibiotic use.

This is the first time a system of this type has been run for the pig industry. It has been designed and piloted in collaboration with vets and a group of producers from around the UK.

AHDB Pork veterinary team manager Martin Smith said that, at present, only total antibiotic sales data for pigs and poultry is available, which doesn’t give an accurate picture of pig-specific use.

“For this reason, AHDB Pork and the Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD) have developed the eMB-Pigs website, which is also supported by Northern Ireland and the Scottish and Welsh levy bodies,” he said.

“eMB-Pigs provides an electronic version of the existing paper medicine book; it’s a convenient way to record and quantify usage, so producers can review and optimise their antibiotic use. For a long time now, it has been a legal requirement for all pig producers to keep a medicine book on-farm to record all medication administered to livestock.

“And it has recently become a requirement of Red Tractor farm assurance schemes that annual, aggregated, records of antibiotic use are kept, which include antibiotics administered in feed. eMB-Pigs will help producers collate this information.”

He added that producers could start using the eMB-Pigs website either to enter or upload their total antibiotic usage or to replace their current medicine recording book or system.

“Future system developments will allow farm management software and mobile apps to interact with the eMB and automatically upload medicine usage data onto the system,” said Smith. “What’s more, the long-term view is that eMB-Pigs will help individual producers compare their on-farm usage to anonymised data from other similar units, to help them review their approach to antibiotic use and make management changes to reduce production costs.

“It will also be able to provide an anonymised, aggregated national record of total antibiotic usage for the VMD, when needed.”