On-Farm Antimicrobial Usage in Turkey Production

New Antibiotic Data Dashboard

We are proud to release a new interactive dashboard of on-farm antimicrobial use data for broiler chickens and turkeys.

Turkey companies participated voluntarily and represented a large percentage of the overall U.S. turkey production

  • The antimicrobial use datasets represent approximately 70% of turkey produced annually based on USDA:National Agricultural Statistics Service published numbers
  • The antimicrobial use data that were submitted for 2022 include information on more than 173,000,000 poults placed, 151,000,000 turkeys slaughtered, and 4,700,000,000 pounds liveweight produced

Several key diseases were targeted by antimicrobial administration

  • Clostridial dermatitis, a clostridial disease of turkeys, remains one of the most important diseases of turkeys that requires antimicrobial therapy
  • Bacterial enteritis also comprised a considerable fraction of the overall antimicrobial use in turkey production, typically in the young poults
  • Colibacillosis, a broad category of E. coli diseases that affect turkeys, results in much of the antimicrobial use in feed and water

Antimicrobial use by all routes decreased substantially between 2013 and 2022

Hatchery Antimicrobials

    • The approximate percentage of turkey poults placed that received hatchery antimicrobials decreased from 97% in 2013 to 38% in 2022
    • Hatchery gentamicin use in turkey poults decreased approximately 50% between 2013 and 2022

In-Feed Antimicrobials

    • In-feed tetracycline use decreased more than 75% between 2013 and 2022
    • Some approved uses of in-feed antimicrobial drugs were discontinued with implementation of GFI #213
      • There are no remaining approved uses of virginiamycin or in-feed tylosin in turkeys, and thus use of both of these antimicrobial drugs in-feed went to zero in 2017

Water-Soluble Antimicrobials

    • Medically important water-soluble antibiotic use in turkeys decreased substantially 2013-2019 and then stabilized or increased slightly 2019-2022. Increases were typically due to increased disease incidence, as seen in other countries as well, during the 2019-2022 period
      • Water-soluble penicillin use decreased by more than 44% since 2013
      • Water-soluble lincomycin use decreased 58% from 2013 to 2019 but has tripled from 2019-2022 due to increases in clostridial dermatitis incidence and a shortage of penicillin
      • Water-soluble tetracycline use decreased 21% from 2013-2022 but increased approximately 10% from 2019-2022, largely due to increases in colibacillosis
      • Water-soluble neomycin use decreased by more than 50% since 2013

There were substantial reductions in the use of most medically important antimicrobials in turkey production, regardless of route of administration

  • 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

This project is funded with multiple annual grants from the U.S. Poultry & Egg Association. The project was also partly supported from 2016 to 2023 under a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (U01FD005878). This ongoing monitoring program would not be possible without the voluntary participation of layer, broiler chicken and turkey companies of the U.S. as well as support from the National Chicken Council, National Turkey Federation, United Egg Producers.

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