New Approaches for Improving Integrated Parasite Control Strategies for Small Ruminants in the Northeast

USDA Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program (LNE15-342)

Project Education and Research

Photo courtesy of Randell Stevenson, University of Rhode Island
Photo courtesy of Randell Stevenson, University of Rhode Island

Gastrointestinal nematodes (GIN), especially the barber pole worm (Haemonchus contortus), are one of the top health concerns of sheep and goat producers in the northeast. GIN parasites are a primary concern when raising sheep and goats on pasture and can cause poor growth, anemia, and death in severe infections.

This three year project offers an online training program on integrated parasite control that includes FAMACHA© training and certification, in addition to workshops at large regional events.

Education and assistance with fecal egg counting and promotion of the National Sheep Improvement Program (NSIP) will enable interested producers to factor parasite susceptibility into breeding decisions and use EBVs (estimated breeding values) to balance parasite resistance with other important production traits.

This project will expand current research evaluating the anti-parasitic effects of cranberry leaf on GIN infection in lambs. Cranberry contains condensed tannins, also called proanthocyanidins (PAC) which have demonstrated anti-parasitic efficacy against larval and adult stages of the barber pole worm (H. contortus) in a previous Northeast SARE Project (LNE10-300). Development of a cranberry leaf feed supplement to provide an easy, economical deworming alternative will continue.

How Can I Participate?
For more information EMAIL:  Print brochure – SARE LNE15-342 Project Brochure_2.6.2017

Online Training Resources

View our resources including videos & fact sheets on Integrated Parasite Control, FAMACHA© Scoring, and the use of Fecal Egg Counts in parasite control.

Online FAMACHA© certification can be obtained through a 4-step process:

  1. View our online videos on Integrated Parasite Control & FAMACHA© scoring. Complete an online post-video summary.
  2. Practice the Cover, Push, Pull, POP! technique.
  3. Record and email us a video of your FAMACHA© scoring technique.
  4. Follow-up by phone and/or email as needed. Live video sessions can be utilized if needed.

Online FAMACHA© certification – detailed instructions

Attend a regional workshop

  • Attend a regional workshop on integrated parasite control / FAMACHA© training.  Visit our events page for updates on regional workshops.

Selective Breeding for Resistance to Gastrointestinal Nematodes (GIN)

Northeast Sheep and Goat Producers:

  • Learn about the National Sheep Improvement Program (NSIP) comprehensive, multi-trait selection program that can also include resistance to GIN parasites.
  • Receive assistance in identifying the most parasite resistant sheep and goats in your flock/herd through fecal egg count (FEC) analysis combined with FAMACHA© scores.  Receive guidance on using results in individualized selective breeding decisions.

Seedstock Producers:

  • Receive assistance with enrolling in NSIP and support for FEC analysis.

SUMMER 2018:  Free Fecal Egg Count analysis for small ruminant producers living in New England, NY, NJ, PA, WV, MD, DE and National Sheep Improvement Program (NSIP) members marketing animals to Northeast producers.  Focus is on young replacement animals to assist with selective breeding for resistance to gastrointestinal nematodes.  View our flyer for more information:  2018_SARE LNE15-342 Fecal Egg Count Analysis program Announcement.FINAL

Attention:  Sheep and Meat Goat Seedstock Producers

National Sheep Improvement Program (NSIP) Workshops, May 2 – 9, 2018 in CT, MA, ME, NH, RI, VT –  view flyer for details including registration information – NSIP Workshops May 2018 final

Program Evaluation:

  • Complete annual follow-up surveys providing feedback on knowledge gained and practices adopted or improved as a result of this project.

This project builds upon a former Northeast SARE Project, Improving Small Ruminant Parasite Control in New England (LNE10-300).

Project Partners

Katherine Petersson, PhD, Animal Scientist and Lead Project Coordinator
University of Rhode Island, Dept. Fisheries, Animal and Veterinary Science
(401) 874-2951;

Anne Zajac, DVM, PhD Parasitologist
Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine; Virginia Tech
Project parasitologist
(540) 231-7017;

Holly Burdett, Research Associate
University of Rhode Island, Dept. Fisheries, Animal and Veterinary Science
Education and outreach, online FAMACHA training program, program evaluation, general project inquiries.
(401) 874-2249;

Cranberry PAC research
Jess Reed, PhD, Dept. Animal Science
University of Wisconsin-Madison

NSIP Members:
Rusty Burgett
, Program Director, NSIP

Melanie Barkley, M.Ed., Extension Educator
Penn State University

Nick Miniter, Farm Manager
University of Rhode Island Peckham Farm

This work is supported by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program Project LNE15-342, and USDA NIFA Hatch Project 1007290.
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