Thursday, February 5, 2015

Annual Forages to Manage Internal Parasites

by Dr. Richard Ehrhardt
Michigan State University

The health and productivity of sheep and goats in perennial pasture grazing systems are often limited by a combination of forage quality and gastrointestinal nematode (GIN) infection. This is particularly evident in lactating dams and their offspring, as these animals are at greater risk for GIN infection due to their lower immunity relative to non-lactating adults.

Strips of leafy brassica varieties and Sudan grass
Alternating the grazing episodes/bouts of these susceptible animals with either machine harvesting the forage or by grazing with less susceptible animals or species (cattle, for example) are strategies to maintain forage quality while reducing infection risk.

Another effective method is to integrate the use of annual forages into a grazing program. Annuals can provide grazing opportunities with zero to low risk for GIN infection while simultaneously providing a plane of nutrition even higher than perennial pastures, meeting the nutritional requirements of lactating dams and their offspring.

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Source:  American Consortium for Small Ruminant Parasite Control (ACSRPC)

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