Gastrointestinal nematodes (GIN), especially the barber pole worm (Haemonchus contortus), are one of the top health concerns of small ruminant (SR) producers in the Northeast. This three-year project offers an online training program on integrated parasite control (IPC) that includes FAMACHA© training and certification, in addition to IPC workshops at large regional events. Education and assistance with fecal egg counting and promotion of the National Sheep Improvement Program (NSIP) will enable interested producers to factor parasite susceptibility into breeding decisions and use estimated breeding values (EBV) to balance parasite resistance with other important production traits. This project will also expand current research evaluating the anti-parasitic effects of cranberry vine on GIN infection in lambs.
Three hundred forty small ruminant producers, with an average of 30 lambs or 20 kids and reported problems with parasites in the past five years, will introduce or improve integrated parasite management practices including genetic selection for resistance. These behaviors will result in reduced death and productivity losses totaling $700,000.
Pelleted cranberry leaf powder (CLP) will have anti-parasitic efficacy against experimental and natural GIN infections in lambs.
The conventional method used to control GIN infections is the use of chemical anthelmintic (deworming) drugs. With the growth of anthelmintic resistance in GIN, alternative methods are needed for GIN control. An anti-parasitic effect was demonstrated in sheep and goats consuming condensed tannin containing forages. One of the bioactive components of condensed tannins are proanthocyanidins (PAC). Cranberries contain high levels of a bioactive extract of condensed tannin, PAC and are grown in New England. In year three study, we will be investigating the use of pelleted cranberry vine (CVP) against GIN infections of H. contortus. Cranberry vine (CV) from bogs owned by the A.D. Makepeace Company (Wareham, MA, USA) were collected, dried and chopped. The CV was pelleted at Cornell Cooperative Extension (Canton, NY) to make a 100% CV pellet (CVP). Fourteen five-month old Dorset lambs were infected with 5000 H. contortus L3. After the infection matured for four weeks the lambs were stratified into two groups (CVP & control, n=7 each) based upon fecal egg count. The groups were then balanced for sex and weight. The lambs were subjected to a trickle infection of 1000 H. contortus L3 for the first three weeks of the six week feeding trial. Lambs were individually fed 2x/day for six weeks (Control: 0.9 Kg 16% sheep pellet; CVP: 0.9 kg 16% sheep pellet + 0.3 kg CVP). Grass hay was fed ad libitum. Fecal egg counts and packed cell volume were determined weekly. At the conclusion of the feeding trial, the lamb’s abomasa were collected from the abattoir post-mortem for determination of worm sex and total worm burden.
- CVP palatability was a problem in this study with average consumption ~47% of offered.
- CVP consumption caused a decrease in fecal egg count after six weeks.
- There was no effect of treatment on the abomasal adult worm burden or worm sex distribution.
- There was no effect of treatment on packed cell volume, although there was an effect of time. Packed cell volumes decreased over time for both groups (P < 0.0001).
- CV has shown anthelmintic potential in vivo but further studies are needed to improve palatability as well as nutritional quality to increase consumption.
Our education program will be advertised using email networks and newsletters targeting SR producer organizations and events, Extension programs and regional events throughout the northeast, existing LNE10-300 project participants, and veterinarians and website links from other SR websites (sheepandgoat.com, acsrpc.org, ncvetp.org, etc.). In addition, this project proposes to promote enrollment of 15 seedstock producers in NSIP, the NSIP portion of the project will be advertised through seedstock breed organizations.
Our educational program consists of three components:
1) Online IPM training materials : As a result of project LNE10-300, SR producers will have access to a website (http://web.uri.edu/sheepngoat) housing comprehensive educational videos on FAMACHA© scoring and fecal egg counting as well as an IPM workshop video. Also available are fact sheets on these topics and other IPM resources, guidance tools and links to related sites. An online test assessing producer knowledge of key IPM concepts, and video assessment of FAMACHA© scoring will also be provided to producers interested in FAMACHA© certification.
2) Integrated parasite control workshops: Multiple workshops will be offered annually.
3) Focus on selective breeding: Producers will be supported in evaluating genetic susceptibility of sheep and goats to GIN through the use of FAMACHA© Scoring (producer) coupled with fecal egg counts. We will hold informational meetings on NSIP (www.nsip.org), for seedstock producers interested in improving the genetic merit of their flock.
1) Small ruminant (SR) producers learn about the major components of the integrated parasite control program: 1) Online training materials in IPM, 2) Integrated parasite control workshops, 3) Focus on selective breeding.
This milestone was met during YR1 and continued to be met during YR2 and YR3. During YR1 over 3000 SR producers were reached and accounted for on various small ruminant list servs and electronic newsletters throughout the Northeast and neighboring states and regions in Canada. Outreach through these channels continued during YR2 and YR3. The URI Small Ruminant Parasite Control Facebook Page, https://www.facebook.com/urisrpc/ was established on February 4, 2016 and continues to receive new likes and new follows each year. As of the end of YR 3 (August 31, 2018), the page has received a total of 294 page likes and 312 follows. Posts often reach over 1,000 people with many posts being widely shared to other producer and organization Facebook pages.
The URI Website, Northeast Small Ruminant Parasite Control, http://web.uri.edu/sheepngoat/ was continually updated and maintained with project resources, opportunities and events. The American Consortium for Small Ruminant Parasite Control (ACSRPC) website (https://www.wormx.info/) continues to house links to the Online FAMACHA© training program and project videos, and to post project events, opportunities and updates on their blog. Producer groups also continue to list project announcements on their website pages, including the Vermont Sheep and Goat Association and the Rhode Island Sheep Cooperative.
Postcards advertising the Online FAMACHA© training program and the FEC and selective breeding support (developed during YR1) were widely distributed during YR1, 2 and 3 to Extension and SR organization contacts and producers during workshops and events.
Periodic reminders and additional outreach using all of these channels will continue for the remainder of the project, which is under a no-cost extension until October 2019.
2) Small ruminant producers will visit the project website each year of the project.
This milestone has been met for YR3 as well as during YR1 and YR2. The University of Rhode Island used Google Analytics to track website usage between 9/1/2017 and 8/31/2018. A total of 9,667 new users visited the website with 8,215 (85%) being from the U.S. followed by 442 from Canada. By region, 3,564 new users were from target Northeast states and neighboring states and regions in Canada that would receive outreach through list servs and Facebook posts.
Of the new users from the U.S., 45% of website traffic in YR3 was attributed to direct typing of the website address, with 31% being from social channels such as Facebook, followed by 3% from other website referrals (primarily the ACSRPC website). The remaining 21% is attributed to search engines. A similar trend was observed in YR1 and YR2 in which the primary website traffic channels came from both social and direct sources and when added to referrals (79% total for YR3), is indicative of success with targeted outreach methods.
Project staff will continue to monitor website usage during YR4 under a no-cost extension for this project.
3) Small ruminant producers will view IPM fact sheets each year of the project to stay informed on BMP for parasite control.
This milestone was partially met for YR3. The fact sheet and tools webpage received 212 unique page views (230 total) from viewers in the U.S. with 160 unique page views (179 total) being from viewers within the target Northeast and neighboring states and regions in Canada.
Additional Google Analytics programming was established on March 28, 2017 to track the number of clicks or downloads on the project fact sheets which are housed on the website in PDF format. During YR3 the programming tracked the following total clicks or downloads as follows:
- FAMACHA© scoring fact sheet – 249 total clicks among 224 unique users in the U.S. and Canada (260 unique users worldwide).
- Modified McMaster fact sheet – 112 clicks among 112 unique users in the U.S and Canada (148 unique users worldwide).
- Fecal Egg Counting fact sheet – 81 total clicks among 75 unique users in the U.S. (93 unique users worldwide).
The three IPM fact sheets are housed on two project webpages: the fact sheets and tools, and video pages. In addition, the FAMACHA© scoring fact sheet is also housed on the online FAMACHA© training program webpage. The online FAMACHA© training and video pages received the most unique and total page views, respectively, for YR1, YR2 and YR3 of this project. The video webpage received 1,576 unique page views (1,775 total) from viewers in the U.S. with 747 unique page views (840 total) being from viewers within the target Northeast and neighboring states and regions in Canada.
While the number of unique users accessing these webpages add up to the milestone goal, the number that are actually clicking on the PDF fact sheets is much less (this information has only been available since half way through YR2). Efforts were made during years two and three to provide direct links to the fact sheet and tools page and/or specific fact sheets on Facebook posts and emails. These efforts will continue during the remainder of the project. It should bear mentioning that all of the information contained within the fact sheets is covered and presented within the project videos which are, perhaps, a preferred media for online access and viewing (see Milestone 4). The fact sheets continue to be distributed at workshops and to producers requesting hard copy information in lieu of online versions.
4) Producers will view educational videos on FAMACHA© scoring or fecal egg counting (FEC) that will train, or reinforce training in these techniques each year of the project.
This milestone has been met for YR3 as well as during YR1 and YR2 with 500+ unique views of the educational videos each year.
The videos are housed on the URI project website (http://web.uri.edu/sheepngoat/video/) as well as on the University of Rhode Island YouTube Channel Page (direct links provided on webpage). The following YouTube statistics were obtained for YR3:
- Why and How To Do FAMACHA© Scoring video (run time 31 minutes): There were a total of 7,242 views and 43,103 minutes watch time (76% U.S).
- Why and How To Do FAMACHA© Scoring video clip: QR code printed on the back of U.S. FAMACHA© cards takes viewers to this clip housed on the URI YouTube Channel page (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tmeZkqGQnMg&feature=youtu.be). As of August 30, 2018, the video clip had at least 706 views total (over 500 new views during YR3.)
- Why and How To Do Sheep and Goat Fecal Egg Counts video (run time 72 minutes): There were a total of 5,393 views and 58,705 minutes watch time (60% U.S.).
- Why and How To Practice Integrated Parasite Control For Sheep and Goats (run time 120 minutes, 11 seconds): There were a total of 2,053 views and 47,577 minutes watch time (83% U.S.).
The webpage that houses the project videos (http://web.uri.edu/sheepngoat/video/) received 1,576 unique page views (1,775 total) from viewers in the U.S. with 747 unique page views (840 total) being from viewers within the target Northeast and neighboring states and regions in Canada. Additional Google Analytics programming was established on March 28, 2017 to track the number of clicks on the play button of the videos embedded within the webpage itself. During YR3, programming tracked the following total clicks on the play button:
- Why and How To Do FAMACHA© Scoring video – 722 clicks on Play button among 131 unique users in the US.
- Why and How To Do Sheep and Goat Fecal Egg Counts video – 237 clicks on Play button among 81 unique users in the US and Canada.
- Why and How To Practice Integrated Parasite Control For Sheep and Goats video – 2,186 clicks on Play button among 206 unique users in the US (230 unique users worldwide).
YouTube statistics also reveal that, with the exception of the 2 hour IPM video in which 58% of the views came from embedded within websites, that only 20% of the FAMACHA scoring video and 9% of the FEC video were viewed from embedded within websites. The information presented above represents a small fraction of the unique video views / users.
While both sets of information can not specifically account for the number of participants who may have viewed each video in its entirety, the number of YouTube views and total watch time, and the number of unique project webpage visits and clicks on the embedded videos combined suggest that project outreach has been successful in reaching target viewers and the milestone goal.
Project staff will continue to monitor video views during YR4 under a no-cost extension for this project.
5) 225 producers (75/year) will view the Integrated Parasite Control workshop and FAMACHA© scoring videos, take the online assessment exam and be certified in FAMACHA© scoring through submitting a video of their FAMACHA© scoring technique. Live video assessment such as Facetime or Skype can be used if needed.
During YR3, 109 new participants began the online training program with 60 completing it and receiving certification for a 55% completion rate. Eight (8) YR2 participants also went on to complete the training during YR3 for a total of 68 participants completing the training during YR3. While we have exceeded the yearly milestone goal in new participants starting the program (109) during YR3, only 60 have completed the training as of the end of YR3 (80% of the goal). This represents a 10% increase in meeting the goal compared to YR2.
As of the end of YR3 (August 31, 2018), 224 participants have started the training with 138 completing it and earning their certification (61% of the goal.) As of 10/2/2018 (early in YR4) these numbers have already increased to a total of 233 participants starting the training, with 145 completing it (64% of the goal). The majority of participants who have not completed the training as of the end of YR3 did view the required online videos and completed the online post-video summary assessment, but have never submitted a demonstration video (68 participants). Ten participants submitted a first demonstration video but never submitted a second video addressing corrections requested by project staff. Six participants never completed the online post-video summary assessment despite having submitted videos (5 out the 6 being acceptable videos). The goal for this online training program has steadily improved each year of the project. Participants live among 39 states and 4 Canadian provinces with the highest participation being from NY, MO, Ontario Canada, TX, VT, FL, MA, MD, and PA (as of the end of YR3). In addition, about 70 additional people have inquired about the program since it was offered in March 2016, with many having indicated that they have watched the required videos online.
Interest in this training program has continued to increase during YR3 and continues with new email inquiries and requests to participate each week. Most participants learn about the program through an online search about the FAMACHA© system and/or integrated parasite control issues, including several referrals from the ACSRPC website. Others are referred to this program by their veterinarians or other producers and breeders, while some learn about it through Facebook groups, electronic newsletters and listserv announcements. In addition, the online presence has generated several inquiries from veterinarians who have obtained more information and resources to train, certify and provide FAMACHA© cards to clients. We have also received inquiries from producers and professionals in Australia, Finland, Switzerland, Guatemala, Greece, India, Ireland and Poland and have provided project resources and contacts for more information.
We also continued to have interest in group participation in the form of a facilitated workshop. In April 2018, Cornell Cooperative Extension facilitated a group of 12 participants through the online training program by hosting a group, weeknight viewing of the required videos (classroom location) followed, immediately, by individual participants completing the post video summary in hard copy format. The class facilitator collected the summaries and then lead group discussion as they reviewed the correct answers. The class facilitator then inputted each participant’s summary into SurveyMonkey for project staff review and records. The facilitator then arranged to host a weekend group practice of the FAMACHA scoring technique with access to 3 or 4 goats followed by filming each participant demonstrating the technique. The facilitator then uploaded the videos to google drive for project staff to review. Ten of the 12 participants completed the training and earned their certification, with 2 participants being unable to complete the demonstration video portion of the training. This group facilitated workshop method provided access to participants with limited internet and technology challenges and that prefer a group learning, workshop format.
The first request for group facilitated participation was received late in YR 2 (August 2017) from a VT college, in which a class consisting of 10 participants (already in progress) requested assistance. The class facilitator had guided the participants through viewing the required online videos and assisted with the filming of each participant’s demonstration video (with access to college farm sheep and goats). Six of the ten participants completed the training and received their certification, with 4 participants never completing the online post video summary despite submitting acceptable demonstration videos. Other group class inquiries have since been made from a university in PA and a high school in FL. We are excited about this new direction, because it is a novel application of this program that combines the benefits of the online approach with group-assisted learning and will ultimately result in more participants gaining access to and successfully completing this program.
6) 90 of these producers will implement or improve on-farm parasite control strategies (30/project year).
The annual goal was met for this milestone. Eighty-three (83) online training participants from YR3 (164 total YRs 1-3) indicated in their program evaluation that they would like to adopt or improve upon the following parasite control practices as follows:
- 84% FAMACHA© Scoring
- 54% Fecal Egg Counts
- 49% Selective deworming
- 47% Plant a forage containing condensed tannins.
- 43% Genetic Selection – select animals with resistance to parasites for breeding
- 39% Genetic Selection – cull animals that are highly susceptible to parasites
- 41% Implement New Pasture Management Strategies
During YR3, a follow up survey administered through SurveyMonkey was emailed to 80 online FAMACHA© training program participants from YR2. Twenty-seven (27) participants (34%) responded as follows regarding adoption of parasite control practices:
- 85% adopted or improved FAMACHA© Scoring; 12% plan to adopt
- 52% adopted or improved maintaining a minimum four-inch pasture forage height (decrease exposure to parasite larvae); 19% plan to adopt
- 48% adopted or improved genetic selection for parasite resistance; 30% plan to adopt
- 46% adopted or improved deworm and quarantine new animals; 15% plan to adopt
- 31% adopted or improved fecal egg counts; 42% plan to adopt
Twenty-six of 27 YR2 respondents (96%) indicated that they adopted or improved at least one integrated parasite control practice, with the one remaining respondent indicating plans to adopt at least one practice.
During YR3, a follow up survey administered through SurveyMonkey was emailed to 25 online FAMACHA© training program participants from YR1. Seven of eight respondents (88%) indicated that they adopted/continued to adopt or improved at least one integrated parasite control practice during YR2, with the one remaining respondent indicating plans to adopt at least one practice.
In summary, 33 online FAMACHA© training program participants indicated through the follow up survey administered during winter 2018 that they adopted/continued to adopt or improved at least one parasite control practice during YR2.
The follow up survey will be sent to YR1, YR2 and YR3 participants during winter 2019.
7) 360 SR producers will attend an integrated parasite control workshops (30/workshopx4 workshops/year=120 producers/year) and be certified in FAMACHA©.
This milestone has been partially met. Seventy-two (72) producers, students and professionals attended one or more of 4 integrated parasite control workshops conducted during YR3. Thirty-one (31) received FAMACHA© certification. During YRs 1 and 2, 142 participants attended one or more of 11 integrated parasite control workshops with 100 receiving FAMACHA© certification. To date, 214 participants have attended one or more of 15 workshops with 131 participants receiving FAMACHA© certification. Project staff have had the opportunity to conduct IPC workshops at large events such as the Vermont Grazing Conference and the Southern New England Shepherd’s Forum, which has not allowed for the length of time or the facilities needed to conduct a full hands-on FAMACHA© certification workshop. Furthermore, we have experienced workshop registrations that are almost double the amount of participants who actually attend the workshop in some instances.
In addition, we have focused additional efforts on conducting another series of NSIP workshops listed under milestone 10. During YR3, an additional 78 producers, students and professionals received education on integrated parasite control, fecal egg counting and selective breeding for parasite resistance as part of 7 NSIP workshops. During YR2, 208 participants received education on these topics as part of 8 NSIP workshops; and during YR1, 56 participants received education on these topics at 3 workshops focused on selective breeding for parasite resistance for a total of 342 participants to date.
8) 135 SR producers will implement or improve on-farm parasite control strategies (45/project year).
The annual goal was met for this milestone. During YR3, 62 participants indicated plans to make changes in their farm operations as a result of attending a workshop. During YR3, a follow up survey administered through SurveyMonkey was emailed to 142 workshop participants from YR2. Nineteen of 28 respondents (68%) indicated that they adopted or improved at least one integrated parasite control practice, with four of the remaining 9 respondents indicating plans to adopt at least one practice.
In addition, there were 7 producers who participated in the fecal egg count opportunity during YR2 that did not also participate in either the online training program or a workshop during YR2. Six of these participants (86%) indicated that they adopted or improved at least one integrated parasite control practice.
During YR3, a follow up survey administered through SurveyMonkey was emailed to 50 workshop participants from YR1. Eleven of Eleven respondents (100%) indicated that they adopted/continued to adopt or improved at least one integrated parasite control practice during YR2. In addition, two producers who participated only in the fecal egg count opportunity during YR1 indicated that they adopted/continued to adopt or improved at least one practice during YR2.
In summary, 38 workshop and/or fecal egg count program participants indicated through the follow up survey administered during winter 2018 that they adopted/continued to adopt or improved at least one parasite control practice during YR2.
The follow up survey will be sent to YR1, YR2 and YR3 participants during winter 2019.
9) 1500 seedstock producers will be informed of four NSIP workshops that will be held the first two years of the project (Sept 2015 & Sept 2016).
This milestone has been met for YRs 1, 2 and 3 through the general outreach conducted as part of milestone 1. Also during YRs 2 and 3, additional targeted outreach was conducted through the NSIP program’s member listserv and Facebook page; through emails to contacts for 23 national breed associations affiliated with NSIP, and through Extension colleagues that assisted with 13 local NSIP workshops throughout NY, PA, VA, WV and New England. Outreach may continue during YR4 of the project under a no-cost extension.
10) 200 seedstock producers will attend an NSIP workshop (estimate 50/workshop x 2 workshops/year = 100 producers/year).
This milestone was met during YR2 (208) and exceeded in YR 3.
During YR 3, 78 producers, students and professionals participated in 7 workshops that provided detailed information about the NSIP program and the benefits and resources available to producers as part of enrollment and membership. In addition, presentations on integrated parasite control and selective breeding for parasite resistance were emphasized. These workshops were conducted in CT, MA, ME, NH, RI and VT.
During YR2, 208 participants participated in 8 NSIP workshops conducted in NY, PA, VA, WV, and in Wooster, OH as part of the Eastern NSIP Sheep Sale.
During YR1, an additional 56 participants received education at 3 workshops on integrated parasite control and selective breeding for important production traits including parasite resistance conducted at the New England Shepherd’s Forum and Vermont Grazing Conference.
Additional education on this topic may occur during YR4 under a no-cost extension for this project.
11) 15 seedstock producers (10 YR1, 5 YR2) will enroll in the NSIP program and generate estimated breeding values (EBV) for important production traits.
A post-workshop evaluation and follow-up emails were administered to 182 participants who attended one or more workshops conducted in VA, WV, PA, and NY during March 2017 and New England during May 2018. To date, at least 9 producers enrolled in the NSIP program as a result of project workshops and outreach, and 1 producer enrollment is in progress. At least 29 producers indicated plans to enroll, and at least 12 producers are utilizing or plan to utilize NSIP breedstock. It should also be noted that as a result of Milestone 12, at least 16 current or new NSIP members conducted fecal egg count analyses to date.
12) 100 (33/year) producers from #6 and #8 will participate in FEC program to identify SR with genetic resistance.
Producer outreach for the YR3 FEC program began in May 2018 with NSIP workshop participants and then accelerated using email list servs and Facebook posts beginning June 2018 through August 2018. Fifty-seven (57) producers from Northeast and other states responded with interest and received detailed fecal sample collection and shipping instructions and a sample submission form. Most of these interested producers were emailed with reminders and details about this opportunity at least one or two times. Seventeen producers (10 NSIP members) collected and submitted 804 FEC samples for analysis during YR3, with three of these producers submitting at least two or more sets of samples. Six of these producers also collected and submitted FEC samples for analysis during YR1 and/or YR2.
To date, 165 producers have received detailed fecal sample collection and shipping instructions and a sample submission form, with a total of 36 unique producers (at least 16 NSIP members) participating one or more years analyzing a total of 1,802 fecal samples.
While the number of interested producers exceeds the target milestone, the number of producers that actually collect and submit FEC samples is less. Communication with YR1 and YR2 participants indicates a few reasons for this including:
- Costs associated with overnight shipping of samples. A vacuum sealing option has been offered since YR1 to provide another alternative. We also offered to send the empty shipping containers back to producers since YR2.
- The need to collect and send samples at least 4 weeks after the animals have been dewormed. At least two producers had to deworm their flocks too often to meet this time requirement during YR2.
- Overall, it appears that the time needed to collect and ship the fecal samples during the busiest time of year overrides the interest and best intentions.
Milestone Activities and Participation Summary
During YR3, 27 workshop participants indicated on a post workshop evaluation that their knowledge increased a considerable amount on a variety of IPC concepts and practices. During YR3, a post workshop evaluation was administered to National Sheep Improvement Program workshop participants; 47 out of 47 respondents indicated that they gained new knowledge about the NSIP mission, tools, resources, and use of EBVs, the majority of these participants also agreed that there are economic benefits to joining NSIP, that their tools are valuable and that selective breeding for parasite resistance is important. During YR3, a follow-up survey was administered to YR2 participants with 41 out of 53 respondents indicating that they have begun using or increased the importance of parasite susceptibility as a factor in their breeding decisions.