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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
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 on farm by producers who will submit information on the success of approaches employed. Development of decision tools for producers will occur and teaching modules for farmers, educators and students will be developed and implemented.


3.Progress Report:

Scientists from Heifer Ranch, Auburn University, and the USDA/ARS Dale Bumpers Small Farms Research Center, Booneville, Arkansas, examined the use of sunn hemp, a summer annual, for the value of a summer grazing forage for sheep and goats. Predominantly grass forage systems are typically used throughout the southeastern U.S., but are inadequate for nutritional needs of growing goats, and encourage problems with gastrointestinal nematodes (GIN). Browse-predominant forages would be preferable for goats, but are not always available. Selection of high quality protein forages is desirable by goats and growing lambs. The objectives of this experiment were to examine tolerance to GIN and growth of kids grazing mixed forage systems. Weaned Spanish kids grazed forage systems with sunn hemp (Crotalaria juncea L.), chicory (Cichorium intybus L.), or pearl millet Pennisetum glaucum). The sunn hemp grown was the experimental population AU SelPBU adapted to temperate climates. The chicory cultivar used was an equal mix of 'Puna' and 'Oasis' and the pearl millet cultivar was 'Tifleaf 3'. Lambs grazed a comparable sunn hemp variety. The forage systems with sunn hemp required less deworming of goats, but the worm infection in the animal was similar. Weight gain was similar among forage systems in kids and lambs. Sheep grazing sunn hemp had acceptable performance, though drought limited good production of the forage for grazing. 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 the USDA/ARS Dale Bumpers Small Farms Research Center, 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 both parasite resistance in the young lamb and in ewes during gestation and lactation.


Last Modified: 10/20/2014
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