Each year MPI analyses antibiotic sales data. This is mainly for products used in animals as veterinary medicines. However, horticulture (including summerfruit growers) uses antibiotic products as well for disease control.
Antibiotic products used on crops have strict controls on who can purchase and how they can be used. Registrants of antibiotic products are legally required to submit a yearly sales return for to MPI.
MPI has recently released their 2019 report and Summerfruit NZ provided comments about trends seen in the data to provide context for MPI.
Although total horticultural antibiotic sales were just 2.3% of the overall 2019 total, sales of products containing antibiotics used in horticulture increased 21.4% between 2018 and 2019. The increase in the reporting period is due to a 39.6% increase in sales of streptomycin. Keystrepto is registered for use on stonefruit for control of Blast, Bacterial spot and Pseudomonas syringae.
The increase in streptomycin horticultural sales is being driven by both sector growth and an increase in disease pressures in the two biggest export crops - kiwifruit and apples. However, the report highlights Streptomycin use by stonefruit growers was reported to have been consistent with the previous reporting period.
Overall, the decline of antibiotic sales in 2019 is positive, and representative of an active effort across the production animal, horticultural, and veterinary sectors to reduce antibiotic use.
The only notable increase is for aminoglycosides, driven primarily by an increase in horticultural use. This increase however was as a result of a clear and necessary need for intervention in a difficult period of higher-than-average disease pressure (especially for use on apples as a result of weather conditions that favoured disease).
The challenges for growers who rely on antibiotic use highlight the difficulty in managing unforeseen disease outbreaks while balancing the objectives of use reduction in order to maintain crop health with limited efficacious alternatives available.
The full 2019 antibiotic report can be downloaded here.
Article provided by Rebecca Fisher, Market Access Solutionz