SALES of animal health products have increased 5% in the past year against a static market for the previous two years, the Animal and Plant Health Association (APHA) conference was told in Killenard, Co Laois, yesterday.
The figures, compiled by Gfk Kynetec, which monitors sales of animal medicines, show a continuation in the trend towards preventive medicines and a reduction in the use of antibiotics.
Vaccine use by farmers to prevent cattle diseases rose 8% in the 12 months to July last, while pig farmers increased their use of vaccines 25%. In contrast, the use of antibiotic injections fell 2% in the past year, on top of a drop of almost 3% in the previous year.
Denise Roche, of Gfk Kynetec, told the conference the use of medicines in cattle, sheep and pigs rose 6% in the last year.
Medicine sales for horses and companion animals, which fell 6% in 2008/09, recovered last year with a rise of 2.5%.
She said the boost in overall sales of animal health products was due to products which were launched in the past year. Without these new products the market would have fallen 2%. The conference was also told the use of vaccines to prevent disease has risen 50% in the last five years.
APHA chairman Joe Broderick said the trend to preventive medicine at the expense of antibiotics is a major boost to Ireland’s animal health status and can only enhance the country’s image as a producer of quality food.
Over 70% of animal medicines are used by cattle, sheep and pig farmers. Vets account for 55% of all animal medicine sales, with co-ops, pharmacies and licensed merchants accounting for the bulk of the remainder.
The market share held by vets has shown a marked rise in recent years.
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