Sustainable Control of Gastro-intestinal Nematodes in Small Ruminants

Project Overview

Project Type: Research and Education
Funds awarded in 2005: $250,000.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2009
Region: Southern
State: Georgia
Principal Investigator:
Thomas Terrill
Fort Valley State University

Annual Reports


  • Agronomic: cotton, millet, rye, sorghum (milo), wheat, grass (misc. perennial), hay
  • Animals: goats, sheep


  • Animal Production: parasite control, feed/forage
  • Education and Training: extension, workshop
  • Pest Management: biological control
  • Production Systems: agroecosystems, holistic management

    Proposal abstract:

    Infection with gastrointestinal nematode (GIN) parasites, particularly Haemonchus contortus, a voracious blood-feeder, is the most important constraint to profitable sheep and goat production in the southern USA and Puerto Rico. Lambs and kids are more susceptible to GIN infection than older animals, but haemonchosis can rapidly lead to lost production and even death of small ruminants of 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 goat and sheep GINs throughout the South. The problem is so severe that it is threatening the 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 techniques that reduce worm numbers in the host animal and lower pasture contamination with GIN eggs and larvae. In the proposed project, a multi-institutional, multi-disciplinary team of researchers, extension educators, and producers from 10 southern states, Puerto Rico, Denmark, and South Africa will be conducting research to test and validate this approach, with a final goal of on-farm implementation of successful control strategies. Use of smart drenching techniques to maximize effectiveness of available drugs will be combined with FAMACHA technology (a system developed in South Africa to identify level of anemia) to target specific animals in need of treatment. This will be combined with novel (nematode-trapping fungi, condensed tannin-containing forages, copper oxide wire particles, and breeding for reduced susceptibility to parasites) control technologies in integrated, sustainable GIN control systems that can be adapted to various small ruminant management systems. Results will be disseminated to clientele groups via Extension educator, young farmer teacher, and producer workshops, our project web page (, and various institutional print and web-based extension publications.

    Project objectives from proposal:

    1. Increase level of adoption of available sustainable GIN control strategies in the southeastern USA and PR by disseminating state-of-the-art knowledge and procedures, plus conduct cost-benefit analyses of these systems.
    2. Investigate use of existing and developing novel non-chemical approaches for controlling GIN in small ruminants.
    3. Develop and test sustainable small ruminant parasite control systems integrating conventional and novel GIN control strategies.

    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.