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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: A Systems Approach to Control Gastrointestinal Nematodes (Gin) in Organic Small Ruminant Production

Location: Dale Bumpers Small Farms Research Center

2013 Annual Report


1a.Objectives (from AD-416):
To examine forage systems for year round gastrointestinal nematode (GIN) control, exploit resistant sires, bucks, and breeds to integrate into organic flocks/herds, and examine on-farm use of integrated GIN control.


1b.Approach (from AD-416):
Studies will be conducted at USDA, ARS, LSU, FVSU, and on-farm using pastures in transition and organic principles to examine forages and genetics to minimize the use of anthelmintics (antibiotics) to control GIN. A number of approaches will be used to evaluate producer's use of strategic control.


3.Progress Report:

Management to optimize sustainability of small ruminants on pasture was addressed. Scientists from the USDA, ARS Dale Bumpers Small Farms Research Center (Booneville, Arkansas), funded by USDA, NIFA, OREI, are examining the long-term effects of administration of copper oxide wire particles and feeding of sericea lespedeza to aid in the control of gastrointestinal nematodes in sheep and goats. Production traits, primarily lamb and kid weight gains, are being measured. Gastrointestinal nematodes are the greatest threat to the health of young lambs, kids, and adult females around the time of parturition. Dewormer resistance means many commercial drugs are ineffective. Incidence of deworming is reduced in sericea lespedeza fed animals; however, long-term feeding may affect mineral availability to the animal. An understanding of how this impacts the animal is currently under investigation. Experiments are being conducted in poultry in collaboration with the USDA, ARS Poultry Production and Product Safety Research Unit (Fayetteville, Arkansas) to determine the impact of sericea lespedeza on parasites. A study is being conducted to examine the relationship between fecal egg counts identified on the ewe during the peri-parturient (late gestation and lactation) period and her offspring around the time of weaning (time when separated from the ewe) to examine the two selection indices and correlations. Samples have been collected from USDA, ARS Dale Bumpers Small Farms Research Center (Booneville, Arkansas), Heifer Ranch, and other producers from Arkansas, Missouri, Ohio, Georgia, Maine, and New York from Katahdin sheep. Data is being analyzed to develop indices for identifying genetics for both parasite resistance in the young lamb and in ewes during gestation and lactation. In addition, DNA was collected from Katahdin sires by sheep producers in the National Sheep Improvement Program to identify genetic markers for parasite resistance in collaboration with the USDA, ARS Beltsville Agricultural Research Center (Beltsville, MD). Education modules are in development for live or online student training and online farmer training regarding the control of parasitic worms using organic and conventional methods. Outreach is also being conducted.


Last Modified: 8/30/2014
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