The Experts in Animal Health


The two most common changes livestock and poultry producers are making in response to the loss of shared use antibiotics are increased use of vaccines and better sanitation and biosecurity.

That was a key finding of a new study just completed by Brakke Consulting, Inc.  The survey, “New Strategies for Health and Performance in US Livestock and Poultry Production,” was conducted among beef, dairy, swine and poultry producers, as well as veterinarians and nutritionists, in late 2016. New antibiotic regulations and the Veterinary Feed Directive was effective Jan. 1, 2017.

Although there was some variation among species groups, vaccination protocols and improved sanitation were the top two strategies for 70% or more of all producers.  Other strategies included reduced co-mingling of animals/birds, changes in feed additives, changes in facilities, use of immune modulators and changes in genetics.

Management changes by Order of Importance

Strategy % Producers
Vaccine protocols 74%
Sanitation/biosecurity 70%
Reduced moving, co-mingling 53%
Feed additives 53%
Facilities, animal/bird density 49%
Immune modulators 38%
Genetics 34%

The most common change in feed additives was increased use of direct-fed microbials, also called probiotics.  Other less common feed additive changes included increased use of enzymes, prebiotics, oligosaccharides, organic acids and phytogenics.  More than 90% of poultry producers indicated that they were changing one or more feed additives in response to the loss of antibiotics, more than any other species group.

Although the study was conducted late in 2016, only half of producers said they had already made changes to their operations.  About three fourths indicated that they were ready for the changes, however.  The poultry sector was the most prepared.

There was widespread concern about the potential impact of the loss of shared use antibiotics.  Only 38% of producers believed that they would be able to maintain production and profit levels without them.

The New Strategies Study also rated perceptions of company image, product quality and customer service of individual animal health and nutrition suppliers, including pharmaceutical companies, feed additive suppliers, and environmental hygiene companies.

Study reports are now available from Brakke Consulting for $16,000. To order the study, or for more information, contract John Volk, senior consultant,, (773) 327-4941.

About Brakke Consulting

Brakke Consulting is the leading consulting firm serving the animal health and nutrition industries.  With headquarters in Dallas, TX, the firm also has offices in Chicago, Greensboro, NC, Kansas City, Omaha, St. Louis and Tokyo.

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