The National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) is collaborating with Montana State University (MSU) Sheep Extension to conduct regional Integrative Parasite Management (IPM) training in Montana, Wyoming, and Utah. In this training, county extension agents, veterinarians, and NRCS staff will learn the potential risks associated with rising internal parasite infection rates in western sheep flocks and the proven IPM methodologies to combat these parasites, most notably the Barber Pole Worm, Haemonchus contortus (H. contortus). Training sessions in all three states will include instruction in FAMACHA eye scoring, creating parasite refugias, conducting fecal egg counts (FEC), implementing grazing protocols to limit infection, and on-farm genetic selection strategies to maximize animal resilience to internal parasites. In addition to this training, we will provide presentations at state woolgrower conventions and will develop a nationally accessible webinar to increase awareness of the expanding range of H. contortus infection and successful holistic control practices that can be employed by producers. Extension and technical notes to assist educators will also be developed and posted on the ATTRA website, https://attra.ncat.org/.
Materials, regional training, and subsequent educator-led trainings will be evaluated through training evaluations, and six and twelve month follow-up educator and producer surveys. We expect to see educators who are more knowledgeable in assisting sheep producers mitigate the effects of increasing H. contortus infections through proven sustainable practices. It is our hope that this will contribute to propelling the sheep industry forward by controlling internal parasites and increasing the effective lifetimes of anthelmintic dewormers.
o be entered in by P.I.*
2017 Education and Outreach Activities
The overall goal of this project is twofold. The initial goal is to inform agricultural professionals and veterinarians of the need to take seriously the threat that internal parasites pose to sheep producers in the Inter-Mountain West region, especially those producing sheep on irrigated pastures. The second complementary goal is to provide effective training to these educators in all aspects of IPM as defined by the American Consortium for Small Ruminant Control (ACSRPC), to assist sheep producers in the sustainable control of internal parasites, most notably H. contortus.
The ultimate success of the project will be measured by the number of agricultural educators who complete the IPM training sessions and their subsequent education of sheep producers in these practices. The western sheep industry needs to be proactive in the fight against H. contortus. In order to ensure economic viability, producers need the skills to design and implement holistic strategies to control internal parasites.
This project builds on the experiences of educators and producers in their fight against internal parasites in the south and northeastern United States. They are having measurable success controlling H. contortus, but only after IPM programs have been employed. The Intermountain West sheep industry is in the enviable position to be proactive in its suppression of internal parasites through the use of IPM. This project’s goal is to advance that advantage.
Project Anticipated Outcomes
Integrated Parasite Management creates specific outcomes. These results can be measured in the number of sheep in a flock that have demonstrated resilience to internal parasite infection as expressed in fecal egg counts and FAMACHA http://www.wormx.info/famacha scoring. Decreased anthelmintic use will be immediately apparent to producers and to the educators and practicing veterinarians that advise them. Dewormers will be observed to be effective for a longer period of time. This is extremely important, given the limited amount of anthelmintic classes currently available or in the foreseeable future to sheep producers. As the genetic selection component of IPM is practiced, sheep producers will report to agriculture professionals and veterinarians that they are seeing less and less incidence of internal parasitism. Over several years, the ultimate success of the project will be reflected by a decrease in internal parasite infections in those susceptible flocks that employ IPM compared to those that do not.
According to the USDA-NASS 2012 census of agriculture, 53% of Montana’s 1300 sheep operations are 100 head or less (USDA-NASS. 2012. Census of Agriculture). Representing an underserved community, many smaller operations continuously graze small acreage or irrigated pastures, which are more pre-disposed to gastro intestinal parasite inoculation. In the summer of 2016, Stewart and Scott (data unpublished) conducted a pilot project collecting fecal egg counts on small operations to quantify the level of parasite burden. Of the eleven operations surveyed, seven exhibited a moderate to excessive degree of gastro-intestinal parasitism. From these findings additional questions arose, i.e., what are the production losses due to these parasite burdens, what degree of anthelmintic resistance exists in these flocks, and what management strategies can be implemented to minimize reinfections? Crook et al., (2016) observed wide-spread resistance to various classes of dewormers in the Mid-Atlantic region of the U.S. eg., benzimidazoles, ivermectin, moxidectin, and levamisole on 100%, 82%, 47%, and 24% of farms, respectively.
The extent of parasite infection, most notably H. contortus, in the Inter-Mountain West is incomplete. Concurrently, producer awareness of the threat of internal parasites and how to combat them is marginal.
We have launched a project patterned directly after the highly successful SSARE project (Whitley, N.C.,2011).conducted by Dr. Thomas Terrill, et. al. (LS05-177 Sustainable Control of Gastro-intestinal Nematodes in Small Ruminants, 2009) to (1) address the knowledge gaps and target curriculum for control strategies, (2) create producer awareness, and (3) provide assistance to producers by educating ag extension professionals and veterinarians through a series of Train the Trainer sessions.
The long term goals of this project are: (1) survey sheep producer’s perceptions as to the severity of internal parasite infection, (2) quantify the prevalence of H. contortus present through fecal egg counting on sheep operations, (3) employ the DrenchRite assay http://www.wormx.info/storeyhowell2012 to ascertain the degree of resistance to anthelmintic drugs on these operations, and most notably, (4) assist producers through a series of Train the Trainer sessions directed at enabling ag professionals and veterinarians to effectively train producers in all aspects of Integrated Parasite Management (IPM) at the farm level.
Dr. Whit Stewart, University of Wyoming Sheep Extension Specialist, and Dave Scott, Livestock Specialist at the National Center for Appropriate Technology have conducted IPM training for small ruminant producers in 2015 and 2016 at Dave’s sheep operation, Montana Highland Lamb. Forty five attendees participated in these workshops, resulting in 39 FAMACHA certifications. Feedback from these producers has been very favorable. The project team’s goal is to take the next step and extend this training to educators and veterinarians, enabling them to reach out and train producers over a much larger region, specifically the states of Montana, Wyoming, and Utah.
This project focuses on increasing the awareness of producers, veterinarians, and agricultural professionals of the threat of the Barber Pole worm to the sheep industry in the Intermountain States and on teaching Integrated Parasite Management to combat it. IPM training sessions will be conducted on six farms in 2018 and 2019 for training professionals and farmers in FAMACHA eye scoring, creating parasite genetic refugias, grazing strategies, and genetic selection to limit the parasite’s impact on Western farms and ranches, particularly those that are irrigated. This focus will also be leveraged at annual woolgrower conventions in Montana, Wyoming, Utah and Idaho in 2017 and 2018 through presentations and at our “Got Worms?” booth at these conventions.
2019 Educational Approach
In 2019, we continued our focus on increasing producer and professional awareness of the Barber Pole Worm through five additional Integrated Parasite Management Workshops in Montana (1), Wyoming(1), Utah (1) and Idaho(2). The Idaho IPM workshop was conducted out of a specific request by the Executive Secretary of the Idaho Woolgrowers Association and was attended by producers, ag professionals, and a Washington State University Veterinary Professor along with four of his vet students. Due to the high attendance, a morning session and an afternoon session was held, allowing 36 attendees to become acquainted with Barber Pole Worm management strategies. Additionally, Dave Scott and NCAT promoted the control of the Barber Pole Worm at presentations to one upper level MSU sheep production class and at the Montana and Wyoming Woolgrowers Associations’ Annual Conventions. Dr. Whit Stewart has also delivered the message to sheep classes at the University of Wyoming. Our message was further conveyed by our convention “Got Worms?” booth. The change in producer awareness of the Barber Pole Worm over the project’s three years is notable and we are glad that this primary goal has been accomplished.
Education & Outreach Initiatives
In 2017, our goal was to increase the awareness of veterinarians, ag professionals, and farmers of the threat that the Barber Pole worm posed to sheep operations and to publicize our workshops on Integrated Parasite Management that we will be conducting in 2018 and 2019. Integral to this outreach was applied research conducted by Dr. Whit Stewart of U of Wyoming and Dr. Thomas Murphy of Montana State University concerning the degree of anthelmintic resistance of the Barber Pole worm in Montana and Wyoming sheep flocks.
Dr. Whit Stewart of the University of WY Sheep Extension and NCAT have publicized to producers and ag professionals (veterinarians, extension agents, and NRCS staff) the threat that internal parasites pose through presentations at Woolgrower conventions and meetings in Montana, Wyoming, Utah, and Idaho. I also delivered this message to veterinarians who affect policy at the 2017 United States Animal Health Association Annual Meeting. Additionally, I included this topic in presentations to three student classes at in the Department of Range and Animal Sciences at Montana State University.
At each presentation, Dr. Stewart and I included the findings from the project’s first year of applied research (Dr. Whit Stewart, U of WY, Dr. Thomas Murphy, Montana State University) on sheep internal parasites. These findings underscored the facts that internal parasites are indeed a problem for Montana and Wyoming producers and that there is potential for parasite resistance to anthelmintics.
2019 Educational Initiatives and Activities
The objective of the project in 2019 remained to increase the awareness of veterinarians, ag professionals , and farmers of the threat of the Barber Pole Worm. This was accomplished by continuing the applied research on the degree of anthelmintic resistance in MT and WY and by giving five IPM workshops in MT, WY, UT, and ID.
Dave Scott conducted five IPM workshops at the following locations:
1. Montana Sheep Company, Brent and Tracie Roeder, Ft. Shaw, MT. State Sheep Extension Specialist, Brent Roeder co- presented in this workshop.
2. University of Wy at Laramie, co presented with Dr. Stewart.
3. Kaysville, UT. Ag Extension Agent, Josh Dallin, co- presented at this workshop.
4. Good Shepard Farm, Caleb Pirc, Meridian, ID. Two workshops were given on Caleb’s farm.
The workshops included the following agenda:
The incidence of the Barber Pole Worm in the Intermountain West.
Findings from MSU’s applied research concerning Barber Pole resistance in MT and WY.
Conditions that favor H. contortus (Barber Pole Worm) infection.
Description of the Barber pole Worm life cycle.
Decreasing parasite resistance to dewormers by creating refugia. Although refugia can be created through both fecal egg counts and FAMACHA scoring , FAMACHA is much more practical for most producers.
Sustainable control of the parasite by strategic grazing technique on irrigated pastures. The three “rules” are at least 35 days of pasture rest, paddock grazing periods of four days or less, and leaving behind 6-8 inches of residual.
Increasing host resistance through genetic selection against H. contortus. Fecal egg counts and FAMACHA are the means of accomplishing this selection.
Hands on demonstration and practice of FAMACHA scoring.
The classroom lecture generally lasted one and one half hours followed by one hour and one half hour of FAMACHA scoring and a grazing walk demonstrating grazing practices to limit ingestion of parasite larvae where possible.
These workshops were advertised GotWorms_061218-MT-flyer on NCAT’s list serve, Cooperative Extension list serves, and on the Montana Sheep Message Board.
The training curriculum Curriculum-for-IPM-Train-the-trainer-Workshop-Session1Curriculum-for-IPM-Train-the-trainer-Workshop-Session1 guided the two hour classroom lecture.
Classroom instruction was followed by one to two hours of FAMACHA scoring and a grazing walk demonstrating grazing practices to limit ingestion of parasite larvae.
At each of these workshops a rich discussion was prompted by producers that were having problems with the Barber Pole Worm. We were able to provide answers to their queries and outline both remedial and proactive responses to Barber Pole Worm infection.
“All Things Sheep Workshop” with Dave Scott presenting on Integrated Parasite Management.
Dave Scott instructing parasite workshop attendee how to “pop out” the lower eyelid in the FAMACHA scoring technique.
To date, there has been little applied research in the Inter Mountain West concerning the presence of Barber Pole Worm infection or it’s resistance to anthelmintics. Drs. Stewart’s and Murphy’s findings during the first year of applied research is attached Report-Year-1-Field-Research-EW17-011WS-FINAL-121817. In essence, the study found significant presence of Barber Pole infection in the flocks surveyed and parasite resistance to one of the most common anthelmintics, Benzimidazole. There was moderate resistance to Levamisol and Ivermectin and no resistance to Moxidectin. These results indicate that dewormer resistance is occurring and perhaps increasing; however, there is opportunity to put into place Integrated Parasite Management strategies for positive impacts.
Additionally, parasite infection was found primarily in irrigated settings. However, there is significant potential for infection in large range operations that have sub irrigated or irrigated pastures near ranch headquarters that orphan lambs, rams, or ewes not fit to go out on the range graze upon. The potential of these “at risk” pastures typically is forgotten and needs to be addressed.
The small study established that the Barber Pole worm is a force to be reckoned with in both range and irrigated operations and substantiates the need for the Train the Trainer IPM workshops to be conducted in years two and three of the project. The study’s results were included in our outreach to nearly 900 farmers, veterinarians, and ag professionals through nine presentations in 2017. It captured the attention of audiences, and helped create interest in the upcoming Train the Trainer IPM sessions.
Producer surveys (sample one is attached, Internal-Parasite-Producer-Survey-2017) were conducted at the Montana and West Central States Woolgrower conventions in 2016-2017 in addition to a summary of the results Producer-Parasite-Survey-2016.-2017-MT-WCS-Woolgrowers-conventions-1918. This survey of 34 producers reveals that 71% of the respondents considered internal parasites a manageable to major threat. Furthermore, 68% of the respondents dewormed all animals while only 3% were employing FAMACHA scoring. This indicates that there is a potential for anthemintic resistance due to the lack of a parasitic genetic refugia in flocks. Forty seven percent indicated that they would be interested in attending an IPM training session, demonstrating the need for IPM trainers.
This year’s research and outreach to ag professionals and producers had a positive outcome: it increased awareness in the parasitic threat and also created interest in attending the Train the Trainer IPM sessions scheduled in 2018 and 2019.
2019 Outcomes and Impacts
Dr. Stewart continued his applied research on the incidence of Barber Pole worm in Montana and Wyoming and the organism’s resistance to the three classes of anthelmintic on sheep ranches in these states using the DrenchRite Assay.
Dr. Stewart’s 2020 findings https://cdn.sare.org/wp-content/uploads/20200320153725/Final-Report-1Dr.-Whit-Stewart-32020.pdf indicate again that the H. contortus resistance to Benzimadols was high in flocks infected with the Barber Pole Worm. The DrenchRite producer-collaborator surveys indicated that flocks that ran on dryland range, or on hayed ground did not suffer from H. contortus infection. Grazing hayed grounds as a means of controlling H. contortus has been one of the recommended practices resulting from this project.
During this third year of the project, we feel that our promotion of the Barber Pole Worm problem at Woolgrower Conventions and offering methods of mediation via workshops has undoubtedly increased knowledge of the parasite threat in Montana, Utah, Wyoming, and now Idaho and has provided hope to control it. Presentations at Montana State University and the University of Wyoming by Dave Scott and Dr. Stewart have additionally served to initiate awareness in this region’s upcoming generation of sheep producers.
The IPM workshops themselves have been responsible for significant outcomes in 2019. A total of 11 ag extension agents, 1 veterinarian, and 89 producers have been educated in integrated parasite management and have received a FAMACHA card.
Pre and post tests from the IPM Trainings again indicated that few of the attendees knew very much about the Barber Pole Worm or the threat that it poses to small ruminants in the Intermountain West. After completing the training nearly all felt more knowledgeable and some trainers felt that they would be able to conduct an IPM Training, especially with some assistance from Dr Stewart or Dave Scott. An analysis of the pre and post tests will be presented in the 2020 Final Report of the project. Dave Scott and Dr. Whit Stewart offered them assistance at any time and plan to help the by attending their first trainings.
We feel that the trainings this year have been very successful. However, trained ag professionals’ initiation of IPM workshops for their own producer base has been disappointing. We have had two ag extension agents, Josh Dallin (UT) and Brent Roeder (MSU State Sheep Specialist) conduct IPM workshops. Brent has in fact, conducted two this summer. We were hoping for more professionals to do so. We know that they are very busy and we hope to encourage more involvement in the summer of 2020.
It is this deficiency that we are hoping to address with our no cost extension application. We would like for ag professionals to hold in person IPM workshops, but with the uncertainty of the Covid 19 virus and public gatherings, we are putting together a contingency plan that will include the development of a narrated webinar that the ag professional can utilize without actually holding an in person workshop. FAMACHA scoring certification will be administered by critiquing each producer’s technique on video. Dave Scott will develop the webinar and also provide assistance with the FAMACHA certification.
Five tip sheets on H. contortus management, written by Dave Scott of NCAT have had the following visits in 2019. They include:
Frequently Asked Questions About Integrative Parasite Management tipsheet-FAQ-pdf-620181
776 ( total)ATTRA Downloads
Why FAMACHA score? Tipsheet-Why-FAMACHA-score-pdf
788 ( total)ATTRA Downloads
Using Fecal Egg Counts to Control the Barber Pole Worm Tipsheet-fecaleggcounts-tipsheet-PDF-FINAL-52518
1162 ( total)ATTRA Downloads
Grazing to Control Parasites tipsheet-graze-tocontrol-PDF-6518
1059 ( total)ATTRA Downloads
Simple Genetic Strategies to Limit the Barber Pole Worm Tipsheet-Simple-Genetic-Selection-Strategies-pdf-62018
742 ( total)ATTRA Downloads
These tip sheets serve as the core material for the IPM training presentations. They were part of the packet distributed to all attendees of the trainings. Other items in the packet included Key Points about the Barber Pole Worm Key-Points-to-Integrative-Parasite-Management, a FAMACHA card, and slide notes on the power point presentation. As evidenced by the number of downloads from the ATTRA website, the tip sheets have been in strong demand.
Although not included in the project proposal, NCAT created a Facebook Group, Beat the Barber Pole Worm https://www.facebook.com/groups/BeatTheBPW/, in November 2018. To date, the group has 123 members, up from 57 in 2018.. We are hopeful that this group will continue to grow in number and that it will be a helpful resource for producers and professionals desiring information and discussion about how to decrease anthelmintic resistance and increase control of the Baber Pole Worm through holistic methods including grazing and genetic selection.
We have received many positive comments by attendees to our IPM workshops. As a result of attending an IPM workshop in 2018, a relatively new sheep producer in Montana who experienced substantial problems with the Barber Pole Worm has initiated new integrated parasite management procedures on his farm in grazing management and in selective deworming. He reports much fewer problems and is encouraged by the results.
A woman producer from Wyoming mentioned at the Laramie IPM workshop, “I have waited two years for this. It has been so good today.”
One comment from another a young woman producer in Utah this year sums up producer gratitude for the IPM workshoops: ”I am so glad that you have come all the way down to Utah to show us all of these things. I really needed this information you have supplied and feel like I am miles ahead in my new flock management.”
Another Montana producer stated that he could get 12 sheep producers in his region to attend a workshop if we would come to northwest Montana in 2020.
We would like to apply for a no cost extension to further the project’s goal of encouraging more agricultural professionals to conduct IPM workshops in the summer of 2020. Additionally, we are excited that Caleb Pirc, the newly appointed Director of Governmental Affairs and Membership of the Idaho Woolgrowers Association has indicated he would like to become a trainer in 2020 and we have offered to train him further. He is uniquely positioned to identify and teach those Idaho sheep producers that would greatly benefit from integrated parasite management strategies. Although initially out of the scope of this project, we welcome Caleb’s enthusiastic interest and demonstrated abilities.
Dr. Stewart and Dave Scott feel that there have been many positive outcomes for the Integrated Parasite Management: Train the Trainer Project in 2019 and that we are meeting many of our goals for the project as stated in the Project Introduction. We look forward to increasing these outcomes in 2020 with the no cost extension until December of 2
Educational & Outreach Activities
Due to producer interest, one IPM workshop was given by NCAT in July 2017 for producers at Montana Highland Lamb in Whitehall, MT. Nineteen producers and family members from 15 ranches attended with a total of 15 FAMACHA cards being given out to successful participants. These participants are skilled in putting IPM into practice on their sheep operations.
We have had no outcomes directly associated with training ag professionals and veterinarians or in the number of farmers reached through their programs. These outcomes will be generated in years two and three of the project.
2018 Learning Outcomes and Impact
In their ongoing applied research on incidence of H. contortus and its resistance to anthelmintics, Drs. Whit Stewart nd Thomas Murphy continued to observe significant infection on irrigated pastures while non-irrigated pastures or pastures where haying is incorporated in the pasture rotation showed little Barber Pole Worm infection. Resistance to Benzimidazole dewormers was widespread on irrigated pasture systems. This indicates, at least for irrigated farms, the need for Fecal Egg Count Reduction Tests or DrenchRite Assays to be performed to determine if dewormers are indeed effective.
The outreach in 2018 has had clear impacts:
Over 7000 producers and ag professionals nationwide have been effectively reached with our tipsheets and presentations, providing a new awareness of the threat of the Barber Pole Worm and sustainable strategies of control.
Nineteen extension agents, two veterinarians and one vocational agriculture teacher have attended one of the four IPM train the trainer trainings, resulting in a considerable increase in the extension knowledge base concerning the Baber Pole Worm, sustainable strategies to control it, and effective methods to educate sheep producers.
2018 Additional Outcomes
One unanticipated learning outcome of sampling for the DrenchRite assay was the discovery that you have to use FAMACHA scoring to filter prospective ewes for DrenchRite sampling. The ten fecal samples need to include at least 50% FAMACHA score 4 ewes in order to ensure a fecal egg count of greater than 500 eggs per gram. If this parasite challenge is not met, the Drenchrite Assay results are inconclusive.
Three comments from IPM training attendees:
An extension agent and sheep producer in Western Montana communicated to Dave Scott after she had attended the Stevensville, Montana IPM Train the Trainer training session. She wrote:MT-Bitterroot-ext-agent-comment-Stevensville-IPM-training-9118
A high school vocational agriculture instructor in Northwestern Utah commented, “I will teach my classes (IPM) and do some agri-science projects.”
A club lamb producer in Western Montana emailed Dave Scott, stating, “I think it’s really important that producers/4H learn about parasites. Especially if they are going to continue on with a Breeding Flock Project.”