- Animals: goats, sheep
- Animal Production: parasite control
- Production Systems: organic agriculture
Infection with gastrointestinal nematode (GIN) 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. Infection with H. contortus can rapidly lead to lost production and even death. Over use of anthelmintics (dewormers) has resulted in high levels of dewormer resistance in GIN 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 GIN numbers in the host animal and lower pasture contamination with eggs and larvae. Copper oxide wire particles (COWP) have been shown to reduce infection in sheep and goats. Preliminary evidence has shown that copper sulphate (CS), as a drench, may also be useful. Since copper can be toxic to sheep, the question of which has the least impact on toxicity has become an issue. In the proposed study, COWP and CS will be evaluated for affect on naturally acquired H. contortus infection and potential toxicity. 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:
1) Determine the effect of COWP compared to CS on H. contortus infection in grazing lambs and 2) Determine the liver copper accumulation of COWP compared to CS in grazing lambs.