An economic assessment of alternative antimicrobial use scenarios on pig farms

S Shrestha*, Maria Rodrigues da Costa, Carla Correia-Gomes, Amanda Nevel, Andy McGowan, SC Tongue

*Corresponding author for this work

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This paper explores the theoretical economic outcome of management changes that result in different levels of antimicrobial use (AMU) in two types of UK pig farm. A static farm economic pig production model (FEPM) was used on a representative ‘Top-third’ most profitable farm and a representative ‘Mid-range’ profitable farm. Three AMU theoretical management scenarios were investigated; (a) management changes leading to a reduction of AMU by 35% (AMU35); (b) more extensive management changes leading to a reduction of AMU by 95% (AMU95); and (c) implementing depopulation of the herd (AMU Depop). A sensitivity analysis was conducted to determine the effect of increases or decreases in pig revenue and feed price on farm gross margin under these scenarios. Over a single year, the AMU35 scenario was estimated to have a small positive impact (+3%) on both farm types. The other two AMU reduction scenarios had higher AMU reduction on farms but required higher variable cost and hence they resulted in lower farm profitability. There was a substantial reduction (up to −50%) in farm gross margin under these two AMU reduction scenarios in the modeled short-term time-period. The impact of the alternative AMU scenarios was slightly higher on a farm representing the ‘Top-third’ farm type, reducing farm gross margin further by 7% compared to the ‘Mid-range’ farm. Nevertheless, both farm types stay profitable under all three AMU scenarios. The results showed that in the modeled short-term implementing management changes that result in a reduction of on-farm AMU by 35% had a good economic outcome. In practice, the other two scenarios would be considered as longer-term strategies. Although both require higher initial costs to implement, the improved biosecurity and hygiene will benefit from lower disease occurrence for a longer term. Farm gross margins were, however, found to be highly sensitive to changes on market prices especially increasing feed prices. An increase of more than 15% in feed price moved a profitable farm into a loss-making farm. It will be economically challenging for uptakes of these, or similar, AMU reduction scenarios on farms if the market prices become un-favorable to pig farmers.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1381499
JournalFrontiers in Veterinary Science
Early online date30 Apr 2024
Publication statusFirst published - 30 Apr 2024


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