RESEARCH STRATEGIES TO IMPROVE SMALL FARM EFFICIENCY WITH A SPECIAL FOCUS ON LIVESTOCK AND POULTRY PRODUCTION
Dale Bumpers Small Farms Research Center
2013 Annual Report
1a.Objectives (from AD-416):
To develop and use tools focused on the issues of small farmers with a focus on issues that impact animal health and farm production efficiency.
1b.Approach (from AD-416):
Cooperative research has lead to improved strategies to reduce stress and disease in livestock and poultry. However, novel approaches are needed to further optimize and quantify production efficiency of small farms. Novel foraging strategies and the use of natural compounds will be tested to reduce stress and eliminate parasites and pathogens in production systems. University partners will assess the economic impact of new methods thereby providing small producers with tools to determine the feasability of incorporating research findings into production practices. Both undergraduate and graduate students will work with both parties to achieve project goals.
A series of research projects were conducted that focus on issues that impact animal health and farm production efficiency. Studies on high protein forage systems for goat kids to increase tolerance to internal parasites and increase weight gains are being conducted. Research on farm systems for sheep to examine integrated control of worms is being conducted. The long-term effects of pelleted sericea lespedeza compared with a commercial feed and use of copper oxide wire particles on parasite control and growth in sheep and goats is being conducted. Collection of research data is occurring so that an economic analysis can occur. Partial budget analysis will be employed to compare net revenues resulting from implementing the proposed gastrointestinal nematodes (GIN) management strategies with one another and with current prevailing practices. Estimates of economic losses from parasitic worms under current practices compared to organic or grass-fed production will be developed to provide a baseline from which to evaluate net revenue changes resulting from implementing chemical free control strategies examined in the project.