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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

2012 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, Louisiana State University, and Fort Valley State University funded by USDA NIFA OREI and USDA SBIR grants are examining the effects of sericea lespedeza leaf meal pellets on the control of coccidiosis in lambs and goat kids, an economically devastating parasitic disease that affects livestock and poultry. Coccidiostats are often ineffective and are not allowed in organic production. Condensed tannins from sericea lespedeza reduced the number of Eimeria spp. oocysts found in the feces of lambs and kids, and thereby reduced the clinical signs of coccidiosis. Reduction of coccidiosis will increase feed efficiency and reduce death loss of livestock. Concurrently, these scientists are examining the long-term feeding of sericea lespedeza to aid in the control of gastrointestinal nematodes in sheep and goats. Gastrointestinal nematodes are the greatest threat to health of young lambs, and 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 impact of sericea lespedeza on parasites. A study is being conducted to examine the relationship between fecal egg counts determined 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 ARS Booneville, Heifer Ranch, and other producers from Arkansas, Missouri, Ohio, Georgia, and Maine from Katahdin sheep. Data is being analyzed to develop indices for identifying genetics for parasite resistance in both the young lamb and in ewes during gestation and lactation. Education modules are being developed for live or online student training and online farmer training on the control of parasitic worms using organic and conventional methods. Outreach is also being conducted.


Last Modified: 12/26/2014
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