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Prudent Use Case Study - Sheep

Under Irish sheep systems approximately 40-60% of antibiotics used are used for the control of lameness in breeding ewe flocks. Targeting better handling and foot-bathing systems together with improving management around lameness control / prevention in sheep can reduce antibiotic use for the control of footrot and scald in sheep flocks

Case Study

Gurteen Agricultural College based in Ballingarry, Roscrea, Co. Tipperary runs mixed farming enterprises including dairy, beef and sheep. The sheep flock consisted of 480 mature ewes (130 January Lambing, 350 March Lambing) and approximately 50 ewe lambs mated annually. Lameness was a significant problem for the college flock and standard footbaths and a combination of antibiotic sprays and injectable antibiotics were used to control infections. In 2015 a review of the college enterprise was carried out and a proposal was made to college management to improve the sheep handling facilities on both farms to include batch footbaths to allow for effective footbathing of the sheep flock. 

Ger Carey sheep flock manager at Gurteen estimates that through effective footbathing the incidence of lameness of the sheep flock in Gurteen has been reduced to less than 5% through a combination of timely and effective footbathing. As a result of these changes the level of antibiotic used in the Flock has been reduced to virtually zero (one or two ewes per year).