- Animals: sheep
- Animal Production: animal protection and health, grazing management, grazing - rotational, livestock breeding, parasite control
- Education and Training: extension, farmer to farmer, focus group, technical assistance, workshop
- Pest Management: chemical control, genetic resistance, integrated pest management
- Production Systems: agroecosystems, holistic management
- Sustainable Communities: quality of life
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.
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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.