August 5, 2019

To bolster stewardship programs in animal agriculture, industry wide processes are needed for the systematic collection of on-farm antimicrobial use data, which should include principal indications for use and methods of administration (dose, route, duration) of specific antimicrobial compounds. This report demonstrates the development of a systematic data collection approach and presents a longitudinal analysis of data on antimicrobial use in the U.S. broiler chicken and turkey industries. This project was supported by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the U.S. Poultry & Egg Association.

The scope of the data collection was antimicrobial use in broiler chickens and turkeys from the hatchery until the day of slaughter, spanning the period of 2013-2017. Industry participation in this data collection effort was completely voluntary, and all companies were guaranteed anonymity and data confidentiality. For 2017, the broiler data in this report represent up to 93% of annual U.S. broiler production and up to 82% of annual U.S. turkey production based on the list published by WATT Poultry USA.

Data are expressed as total kilograms of each antimicrobial used for each specific route of administration and as total grams of antimicrobial per 100,000 birds placed (for hatchery antimicrobial administration) and per 1,000,000 pounds liveweight produced (for feed and water-soluble administration). For both the broiler chicken and turkey industries, large reductions were observed in antimicrobial use over the 5-year period. While a reduction in antimicrobial use may be an important indicator of improved stewardship, reducing the need for antimicrobials through improved disease prevention should be considered a more holistic indicator of overall flock health and optimal antimicrobial use.

Data from these two industries will continue to be collected, and we expect that the data in future reports will have greater granularity at the flock level, thereby enabling the application of more precise antimicrobial use metrics.