- Animals: sheep
- Animal Production: parasite control
- Education and Training: mentoring
- Pest Management: disease vectors
- Production Systems: holistic management, organic agriculture
Infection with gastrointestinal nematode parasites, particularly Haemonchus contortus, a voracious blood-feeder, is the most important constraint to profitable small ruminant production in the southern United States and worldwide. Lambs and kids are more susceptible to infection than older animals, but haemonchosis can rapidly lead to lost production and even death at any age. Anthelmintic drugs (dewormers) have been over-used in attempts to control this problem, which has resulted in high levels of anthelmintic resistance in nematodes throughout the South. The problem is so severe that it is threatening viability of small-scale and limited-resource small ruminant farm operations in this region despite continued high demand for sheep and goat products. A more sustainable approach to parasite control involves integrating targeted, limited use of anthelmintics with non-chemical, novel control methods that reduce nematode numbers in the host animal and lower pasture contamination with eggs and larvae. In the proposed project, one novel control method, condensed tannin containing forage (sericea lespedeza) in a pellet formulation, will be evaluated for activity against existing and newly acquired infection. In addition, this method will be evaluated as part of an integrated program with the FAMACHA system and smart use of anthelmintics as a viable alternative to extend the useful life of available anthelmintics. Results will be disseminated to scientific and producer groups via producer workshops, the Southern Consortium for Small Ruminant Parasite Control web page (SCSRPC.org), and various scientific and extension publications.
Project objectives from proposal:
Determine the effect of feeding the condensed tannin containing forage sericea lespedeza, in a pellet formulation, on parasitic gastrointestinal nematode infection in lambs.