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Antibiotics are chemicals that kill or impede bacterial growth. Parallel to their use and importance for human health, antibiotics are important medicines used on dairy farms to prevent and treat bovine bacterial infections. When antibiotics are administered to dairy cattle, milk and meat withholding times are strictly followed to prevent antibiotic residues from entering the food system.

Antibiotic Resistance (AR) is a naturally occurring process where previously susceptible bacteria develop the ability to resist the effects of an antibiotic. The use of both human and veterinary antibiotics has accelerated antibiotic-resistant bacteria development.

Information found on this page was developed under USDA funding that supports work to investigate and report on the efficacy of dairy manure treatment systems to mitigate antimicrobial resistance (AMR).

An image showing the pathways of antimicrobial resistance through the environment.
Potential pathways for the spread of AR from human & livestock sources.

Antibiotic Resistance and Dairy Production:

Antibiotic Residues in Dairy Manure: (2017)

Antimicrobial Resistance and Dairy Manure Systems: (2018)