- Animals: goats, sheep
- Animal Production: general animal production
Small ruminant farming has become one of the popular diversifications for sustainable small farm operations in the North Central Region (NCR). Specifically, meat goat and sheep numbers have significantly increased in the last decade due to their suitability to graze on low quality pastures, to control invasive plant species, to meet ethnic consumption demands, and as tools for forest-range management schemes. However, footrot and other hoof diseases are becoming endemic and highly prevalent in goat and sheep flocks in humid, seasonally warm regions with high rainfall. Footrot is an extremely contagious and costly disease that in the least is causing lower profits but is also forcing many producers to exit goat and sheep farming. No effective vaccine or footrot biosecurity protocol has been developed for small ruminants. Therefore, a program that integrates preventive education, demonstration, and research is urgently needed to prevent future footrot outbreaks and to keep footrot from spreading among ruminants and to wildlife species. The following are the objectives of this project: (1) to develop early detection, diagnosis, and monitoring techniques for footrot outbreaks in small ruminants (goats and sheep); (2) to organize farmers’ and producers’ training workshops for small ruminant animal welfare, foot and hoof care, and on-farm biosecurity; and (3) to demonstrate footrot prevention, treatments, and management practices. The outcomes of this project will enhance the knowledge and skills of goat and sheep farmers so that they will be able to detect, diagnose, and prevent footrot infection in their flocks; be able to implement on-farm biosecurity procedures; and be able to practice sustainable farming and improve profits. The technical information, knowledge, and skills that evolve from this research and education project will be provided via workshops, field day presentations, conferences, producers’ society newsletters, farming bulletins, websites, reports, and journal articles available to the general public, goat and sheep farmers, other ruminant livestock producers, veterinarians, Extension specialists, agriculture students, and researchers.
Project objectives from proposal:
We will maintain 12 producers per year (12 x 3 = 36), including two college farms, to participate in footrot early detection, monitoring, prevention, demonstration, and on-farm biosecurity protocol development activities. We will organize training workshops (4 times over a two-year period) during pre- and post-footrot seasons (projected 4 [workshops] x 30 [participants per workshop] = 120 trainees); and particularly invite the new/young farmer participants and students to attend these training workshops.
We will conduct footrot prevention and treatment demonstrations (2015-2016) on farms for producer observation, participation, or adaptation. We expect 150 farmers to visit, observe, or participate at one or more occasions on demonstration sites.
The researchers and participants will conduct footrot lesion inspections, swab sample collections, bacterial isolations, rapid bacterial species identifications, statistical analysis, and complete two papers, three abstracts for regional conferences, five presentations at local producer field days.