Macra na Feirme has called for faecal sampling and milk recording to be included under new eco scheme proposals as a method of tackling antimicrobial resistance.

Macra believes that the proposals align perfectly with the work ongoing within the Department and that their inclusion will allow Irish farmers to “get ahead of the curve”.

Macra wants to reiterate the importance of including faecal sampling and milk recording as potential measures that farmers can select under new eco scheme proposals which are due to come into effect in 2023 under the next CAP.

President of Macra na Feirme John Keane said: “Antimicrobial resistance is beginning to impact on our animal health strategies and encouraging farmers to get faecal samples analysis regularly could be a major weapon in tackling the threat of antimicrobial resistance.”

World Antimicrobial Awareness Week

The calls come as we mark World Antimicrobial Awareness Week from 18 to 24 November, with the aim of increasing antimicrobial resistance awareness among the likes of policymakers.

“This measure and milk recording also align to one of the EU Commission’s own criteria for approving an eco scheme measure,” Keane said.

Under the European Commission’s own draft proposal, antimicrobial resistance is considered an area of “environmental, climate and animal welfare action” and is also a specific objective of the CAP framework where member states may opt to implement eco schemes to address antimicrobial challenges.

The benefits to reduced anthelmintic usage and improved decision making are both beneficial to the environment and align with the targets as laid out in the EU Farm to Fork strategy to reduce antibiotic and anthelmintic usage on farms.

“Currently, we are seeing antimicrobial resistance as a small issue on Irish farms but one with the potential to grow.

“The inclusion of both these measures as eco schemes allows Irish farmers to get ahead of the curve and be leaders when it comes to addressing this issue and forge a pathway that facilitates Irish farmers to meet the ambition under the EU Farm to Fork Strategy,” Keane concluded.