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ARS Home » Plains Area » El Reno, Oklahoma » Grazinglands Research Laboratory » Forage and Livestock Production Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #333063

Research Project: IMPROVING THE EFFICIENCY AND SUSTAINABILITY OF DIVERSIFIED FORAGE-BASED LIVESTOCK PRODUCTION SYSTEMS

Location: Forage and Livestock Production Research

Title: Performance and gastroinstestinal nematode control when meat-goat kids grazed chicory, birdsfoot trefoil, or red clover pasutures

Author
item Turner, Kenneth - Ken
item Cassida, Kimberly - Michigan State University
item Zajac, Anne - Virginia Polytechnic Institution & State University
item Brown, Michael - Retired ARS Employee

Submitted to: Sheep and Goat Research Journal
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/15/2017
Publication Date: 8/4/2017
Citation: Turner, K.E., Cassida, K.A., Zajac, A.M., Brown, M.A. 2017. Performance and gastroinstestinal nematode control when meat-goat kids grazed chicory, birdsfoot trefoil, or red clover pasutures. Sheep and Goat Research Journal. 32:1-12.

Interpretive Summary: Finishing meat-goat kids on improved pastures is a viable production system option for many producers in the USA. However, gastrointestinal parasite control is a significant socio-economic and management challenge for producers. Forage chicory, birdsfoot trefoil, or red clover contain plant secondary compounds that can aid resilience to internal parasites in meat-goat kids finished on pasture. We evaluated performance, fecal egg count, and FAMACHA scores in individual animals to help identify dewormer dosing needs and frequency. Goat kids finished on red clover gained more weight than goats finished on chicory; those grazing birdsfoot trefoil were intermediate. Grazing chicory, birdsfoot trefoil, or red clover did not reduce fecal egg count in lambs and meat-goat kids. The FAMACHA scores over the season were similar among all pasture groups. When comparing actual number of doses administered to a theoretical once monthly deworming regimen, goat kids grazing red clover received less dewormer doses compared to goat kids grazing either birdsfoot trefoil or chicory. Grazing red clover, and to some extent birdsfoot trefoil, had a beneficial effect on meat-goat kid weight gain and resilience to gastrointestinal parasite infection (low fecal egg count and reduced administration of dewormer) in comparison to forage chicory. By implementing the FAMACHA system to determine the need to deworm individual animals, producers can improve livestock performance and reduce cost of production. This information is useful to producers managing meat goats in pasture-based systems and researchers developing alternatives to chemical dewormers.

Technical Abstract: In most pasture-based meat-goat production systems, a major management challenge is control of gastrointestinal nematodes (GIN). Use of legumes and forbs that contain plant secondary compounds may reduce fecal egg count (FEC) and/or improve the overall protein nutrition to help animals better tolerate effects of GIN parasitism (resilience). This research monitored performance, FEC, FAMACHA© scores, and the number of doses of dewormer administered to meat-goat kids gazing chicory (Cichorium intybus L.; CHIC), birdsfoot trefoil (Lotus corniculatus L.; BFT), or red clover (Trifolium pretense L.; RCL) pastures. Goat kids grazing RCL (68.9 ± 5 g/d) had greater (P < 0.03) overall average daily gain (ADG) compared to those grazing CHIC (35 ± 5 g/d); BFT (53.2 ± 5 g/d) was intermediate. When averaged over the season, there was a weak trend (P = 0.19) for goat kids grazing CHIC (2034 epg) to have greater FEC compared to RCL (1194 epg); BFT (1718 epg) was intermediate. The FAMACHA© scores over the season were similar among all pasture groups (mean 2.9). There was a weak trend for number of dewormer doses administered based on FAMACHA© scores to be lesser (P = 0.13) when goats grazed RCL (5.5 doses) compared to CHIC (6.3 doses); BFT (6.1 doses) was intermediate. Grazing red clover pasture, and to some extent birdsfoot trefoil, appeared to have a beneficial effect on meat-goat kid performance (better ADG) and resilience to GIN parasite infection (low FEC and reduced administration of dewormer) in comparison to chicory pastures.