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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Booneville, Arkansas » Dale Bumpers Small Farms Research Center » Research » Research Project #441720

Research Project: Grazing with the Fun Guy (Fungi) – Small Ruminant Worm Control

Location: Dale Bumpers Small Farms Research Center

Project Number: 6020-21500-001-009-R
Project Type: Reimbursable Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Mar 1, 2022
End Date: Mar 31, 2025

To examine strategies to include Duddingtonia flagrans, a nematode trapping fungus, to minimize the need for dewormer in sheep and goats in research and farmer's flocks/herds.

1. Examine practical approaches to administer D. flagrans (BioWorma) to obtain good larval kill (> 50%) and low fecal egg counts (< 1000 per animal), ultimately reducing the need for dewormers. Research will be conducted at ARS, FVSU, and on-farm. Naturally infected sheep and goats will be selectively dewormed and placed on pastures. For ARS and FVSU, control treatment will be BioWorma fed daily during the peri-parturient period and/or at weaning for up to 3 months. Other treatments may include every other day BioWorma, inclusion of BioWorma in trace mineral at recommended dosage, or feed BioWorma 2 weeks on/2 weeks off. Feces will be collected every 7-14 days during feeding to determine fecal egg counts and larval reduction, and FVSU will obtain worm counts at slaughter. 2. Cooperating farms will collect fecal samples from at least 10 animals receiving BioWorma and submit to lab for same measures. Body weights and condition of animals will be determined every 14-28 days. 3. Multiple strategies of parasite control (copper oxide wire particles, genetics, pasture rotation, etc.) will be evaluated with the use of the fungus and evaluated for best management strategies. 4. Resources for new sheep and goat producers are readily available through the American Sheep Industry Association, university websites including University of Maryland’s, and the American Consortium for Small Ruminant Parasite Control’s website (PI and co-PIs and some farmers are members). However, some producers do not seem to find or use the resources, but rather rely on Facebook “neighbors” or word of mouth to resolve worm issues. Field day speakers will include enabling behavioral change to allow farmers to accel at their goals. Farm coaching from ACSRPC members will be explored to a select number of new farmers identified at field days in 2021, which may include virtual one-on-one or small group training to direct to specific resources. At the end, we will examine knowledge gained among farmers and their perceived benefits.