Manure and Pasture Management to Reduce Swine Parasites in Western Washington Organic Pastured Pork Production

Project Overview

FW20-362
Project Type: Farmer/Rancher
Funds awarded in 2020: $19,899.00
Projected End Date: 06/30/2023
Grant Recipient: Alluvial Farms
Region: Western
State: Washington
Principal Investigator:

Information Products

Commodities

  • Agronomic: barley
  • Animals: swine

Practices

  • Animal Production: grazing - rotational, manure management, parasite control
  • Education and Training: farmer to farmer, on-farm/ranch research, workshop
  • Production Systems: transitioning to organic
  • Soil Management: composting
  • Sustainable Communities: local and regional food systems

    Proposal summary:

    Managing swine intestinal parasites continues to be an obstacle for organic pig farmers. There is a lack of organically-approved options for controlling parasites, as well as a lack of best management practices for parasite control in organic pork production systems for the various regions of the United States (Percy, 2019). Alluvial Farms is aware of current research work being done through a collaboration of the University of Minnesota, Kutztown University and Rodale Institute. This multiyear study, funded by the US Department of Agriculture National Institute of Food and Agriculture program (USDA NIFA) for 2018-2020, will explore manure and pasture management strategies that would control swine parasites by reducing parasite contamination and transmission in organic pig production (Yuzhi, Hernandez, Carr, 2019). In the three-year research project proposed here, Alluvial Farms will follow some of the protocols of this larger national study to evaluate parasite pressures on our organic pig farm, determine effectiveness of manure composting on eliminating swine parasites and its underlying mechanisms; and determine effects of using pumpkin feedstock on reducing swine parasite contamination in animals and in pastures. Our project will address all three aspects of sustainable agriculture as defined by SARE: environmental stewardship through parasite management on pastured-based hog systems, economic profitability by aiming to increase weight gains and carcass yields through parasite mitigation strategies and the social component of increased quality of life for family farmers by implementing efficient weight monitor systems, and increased income potential for certified organic pork.

    Project objectives from proposal:

    1. Evaluate parasite prevalence on organic pig farms in Western Washington, as measured by the presence of three common parasites: Oesophagostomum spp. “nodular worms,” Ascaris suum “large intestinal roundworm,” and Trichuris suis “swine whipworm.”
    2. Determine the effectiveness of manure composting on eliminating these swine parasites and their underlying reproductive mechanisms.
    3. Determine the effects of pumpkins as a forage crop by organic pigs on reducing swine parasite contamination.
    4. Track swine weight gain monthly to compare weight gain with parasite loading changes.
    5. Share results with local, regional, and national producer community.
    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.