Objective—To evaluate knowledge, attitudes, and management practices involving antimicrobial use among Tennessee beef producers.
Sample Population—A population-based, stratified random sample of 3,000 beef producers across the state.
Procedures—Questionnaires were mailed to beef producers. Questions focused on producer practices related to education, biosecurity, veterinary use, and the purchase and use of antimicrobials. Operation types were categorized as either cow-calf only or multiple operation type (MOT). Associations between various factors and antimicrobial use were evaluated by use of multivariable logistic regression, with the outcome variable being any antimicrobial use (injectable or by mouth) in the past year.
Results—Of 3,000 questionnaires mailed, 1,042 (34.7%) were returned. A significantly higher proportion of producers with MOTs reported giving antimicrobials by mouth or by injection than did producers with cow-calf only operations. In addition, higher proportions of producers with MOTs than producers with cow-calf only operations reported treating with macrolides, florfenicol, ceftiofur, and aminoglycosides. In the multivariable analysis, herd size >50 cattle, participation in Beef Quality Assurance or master beef producer certification programs, quarantining of newly purchased animals, use of written instructions for treating disease, and observation of withdrawal times were associated with a higher likelihood of antimicrobial use.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results suggested that producers who engaged in more progressive farming practices were also more likely to use antimicrobials. Incorporating training on judicious antimicrobial use into educational programs would likely increase awareness of best management practices regarding antimicrobial use.