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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):
The objectives are to examine farm management systems for year-round gastrointestinal nematode control, identify resistant animals to minimize problems with nematode infection, conduct on-farm studies on the feasibility of techniques developed from research studies, and educate outreach professionals and producers on adopting available organic gastrointestinal nematode control strategies in small ruminants by disseminating state-of-the-art knowledge and procedures.


1b.Approach (from AD-416):
The impact of continuous use of integrated methods that have been developed by these investigators previously will be examined using a systems approach in a long-term experiment. Groups of sheep or goats using different control strategies will be managed separately for at least four years, and infection level and production efficiency will be measured. Forage systems (including sericea lespedeza and birdsfoot trefoil) will be examined to minimize parasite infection. Genetic selection for resistant sheep and goats will be examined by correlating fecal egg counts of parents and offspring, and selected sires will be used to generate stock with a greater resistance to parasites. Integrated approaches described above will be examined on-farm by producers who will submit information on the success of approaches employed.


3.Progress Report:

Management to optimize sustainability of small ruminants on pasture was addressed. Scientists from 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 provided to prevent coccidiosis, yet they may be 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 reduced the clinical signs of coccidiosis. Reduction of coccidiosis will increase feed efficiency and reduce death loss of livestock. Concurrently, these scientists are examining 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 the 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 UDSA/ARS Poultry Production & Product Safety Research Unit, Fayetteville, Arkansas, to determine impact of sericea lespedeza on parasites. An experiment was conducted to compare the efficacy of repeated copper oxide wire particles (COWP) and copper sulfate (CS) treatments compared with levamisole-treated controls on naturally infected lambs. Treatment with COWP was more effective than CS, and neither showed signs of copper toxicity. 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 being conducted. Outreach activities included: Presented research results at professional meetings: SDA Southern Coordinating Committee (SCC-81) meeting, February 2012, Birmingham, AL; American Society of Animal Science, Southern Section, February 2012, Birmingham, AL; American Consortium for Small Ruminant Parasite Control meeting, October 2011, Fort Valley, GA, May 2012, Princess Anne, MD; American Association of Veterinary Parasitologists, August 2012; International Congress of Parasitology, August 2012. Gave integrated parasite control presentations at producer meetings: LSU/Southern University, Small Ruminant Field Day, April 2012, Baton Rouge, LA; USDA, ARS Sheep and Goat Field Day, October 2011, Booneville, AR; Goat Camp, October 2011, Lohn, TX; Goat producer meeting, September 2011, Crowley, LA. The ADODR communicated with LSU at meetings (October 2011, Fort Valley, GA; February 2012, Birmingham, AL; July 2012, Spencer, IA) and by weekly email and phone conversations.


Last Modified: 9/23/2014
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