The aim of this study was to investigate farm-level economic and technical factors that are associated with the use of antibiotics on pig farms. Identification of such factors, like farm size and net farm result, may help to increase epidemiological knowledge and to specify farm advice and policy making to reduce inappropriate use of antibiotics. The study used over 300 farm-year records collected during 2004 to 2007 from pig farms in the Netherlands. Data included economic and technical factors as well as antibiotic administration. Data were statistically analyzed for factors associated with antibiotic use, both for fattening pig and sow farms (piglets only), separately. The response variable was the average number of daily dosages per average pig year. Statistical analysis was performed on 16 and 19 potential explanatory factors for the fattening pig and sow farms, respectively. The results showed that, both on the fattening pig and sow farms, the average use of antibiotics increased from 2004 to 2006, but decreased during 2007, but the effect of year was not significant (P > 0.05). Use of antibiotics varied between individual farms. Large farm repeatability for the use of antibiotics in the different years was found. Factors associated (P <0.05) with the use of antibiotics included: farm system, number of pigs, and population density in the region of the farm (for sow farms only). As these factors are easy to collect and to register, they can be used to specify farm advice and investigation, as well as for policy making. The majority of the technical and economic factors were not significantly (P > 0.05) related to the on-farm use of antibiotics. Therefore, it is recommended to focus future research on the potential role of socioeconomic factors associated with antibiotic use on pig farms.
- antimicrobial growth promoters