- Animals: sheep
- Animal Production: parasite control
Infection with gastrointestinal nematode parasites, particularly Haemonchus contortus, a blood-feeder, is the most important constraint to profitable small ruminant production in the southeastern US and worldwide. Weanlings are especially susceptible to infection during their first grazing season. Haemonchosis can rapidly lead to lost production and even death. Anthelmintic drugs (dewormers) have been over-used in attempts to control this problem. Over use has resulted in high levels of resistance to dewormers in nematodes throughout the southeast and other regions where H. contortus is a problem. The problem has become 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 alternative control methods that reduce nematode numbers in the host animal and lower pasture contamination with eggs and larvae. In the proposed project, one alternative control method, grazing sericea lespedeza, a condensed tannin containing forage, as a deworming paddock will be evaluated for affect on naturally 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 grazing sericea lespedeza, as a treatment (deworming) paddock, on gastrointestinal nematode infection in lambs.