Lack of data a major challenge in fighting Antimicrobial Resistance

Antimicrobial Resistance is a major societal and economic challenge. VirtualVet can help.

The recent publication by Lord O’Neill and his team at AMR Review outlining recommendations to deal with drug resistant infections is very welcome. It is a thorough and sensible report and has been widely covered, including by The Economist.

However it is the AMR Review’s December 2015 report “Antimicrobials in Agriculture and the Environment: Reducing Unnecessary Use and Waste” which is of particular interest to farmers and vets. The opening line of the executive summary states “The precise quantity of antimicrobial used in food production globally is difficult to estimate, but the evidence suggests that it is at least as great as the amount used by humans.”

It is the absence of timely and thorough data which is most worrying. The scale of any issues cannot be properly assessed, giving wiggle room to naysayers. Also in the absence of data there can be no defense to claims and assertions made about food producers. Media reports tend to paint all farmers with the same brush; prolific antimicrobial users. There is a growing trend in veterinary towards prevention rather than cure, but without clear and accessible data, the trend will find it promote its progress.

VirtualVet is working with vets and farmers to understand and develop solutions which meet their reporting and compliance needs. These co-developed solutions will contribute to the fight against Antimicrobial Resistance.

Where are the farmers in Agri-Tech?

A call to centre farmers in Agri-Tech design!PrecisionDairy Conference Netherlands

There was an impressive array of Agri-tech on show at the Precision Dairy Conference this week. But there were a number of questions about whether or not farmers had been involved in the research & development of the technologies. Tuesday saw an interesting session dedicated to the economic benefits of precision dairy farming technologies. The findings were chilling. The lack of an undeniably clear and positive economic benefit accruing to farmers must be heeded by the industry stakeholders.

On Wednesday we visited the amazing Dairy Campus research farm. A common thread to the feedback was “wonderful stuff, but do they know the milk price?”.

Everything came together Thursday morning. Dr Daniel Berckmans’s keynote address called on the industry to collaborate, on developers and scientists to listen to the farmer in a meaningful and inclusive way.

Dr Berckmans is of course right. Through working together we can develop new business models, creating customers further up the value chain for the large amounts data and information generated by Agri-tech. Such multi-sided business models will enable a reduction in cost to the farmer, increasing adoption, improving performance through reinvestment in research & development of Agri-tech, building the economic case for farmers to invest in Agri-tech….

VirtualVet is excited to be part of the conversation pushing for multi-sided business models along the various agricultural value chains. We aim to firmly centre farmers in Agri-Tech design!