Productivity and Economic Impacts of Feedgrade Antimicrobial Use in Pork Production
There is growing concern among public health experts regarding the diminishing efficacy of antimicrobial therapy in human and veterinary medicine, and some have called for a ban on subtherapeutic antibiotic use in pork production. This paper develops an econometric analysis to identify the economic contributions of subtherapeutic antimicrobial use in swine production. Using data from the 1990 and 1995 NAHMS National Swine Surveys, linear regression models were estimated to identify the relationships between feedgrade antibiotic use and other factors of production on productivity and mortality in the grower/finisher phase. Empirical results indicate that average daily gain and feed conversion ratio are improved by 0.9% and 2.3%, respectively, while grower/finisher mortality is improved 0.29 percentage points. The results also suggest that tailored rations can serve as a substitute for subtherapeutic antibiotics. Additional research on the relationships between productivity and feedgrade antibiotics in modern U.S. pork production systems is warranted.