The Northern New York Agricultural Development Program (NNYADP) has released early recommendations from a Cornell University team evaluating a parasite control strategy for barber pole worm, a major cause of death in sheep and goats. The complete report is online at www.nnyagdev.org
--the stomach parasite commonly known as barber pole worm--is a major cause of death in small livestock and has become increasingly resistant to traditional anthelmintic (deworming) treatments.
"Many North Country sheep and goat farmers already report barber pole parasite resistance to multiple conventional deworming medications," says Betsy Hodge, livestock educator with Cornell Cooperative Extension of St. Lawrence County.
With funding from the farmer-driven NNYADP, Drs. Michael L. Thonney and tatiana Stanton with the Cornell Sheep and Goat Program and Dr. Dwight Bowman and Janice Liotta of the Cornell School of Medicine Department of Microbiology and Immunology worked with North Country livestock producers and Hodge to test the use of copper oxide wire particles, or COWP, as a deworming method for sheep and goats.
Copper oxide wire particles are a slow-dissolving form of copper. The research team tested different dosage levels of COWP in pastured lambs and kids on two sheep farms and one goat dairy farm in northern New York to study their effect on fecal egg counts for barber pole worm. The dosage for using COWP is particularly important with sheep, which are susceptible to copper toxicity.
"Treatment with copper oxide wire particles appears to offer livestock producers another tool for coping with barber pole worm in pastured animals; however, it is important for producers to learn how to properly develop dosing strategies and to understand that COWP is not effective against all types of worms," Stanton says.
Field trials were conducted with 45 dairy goat does at Asgaard Farm and Dairy, a diversified livestock farm in Au Sable Forks; at Downing Acres, a sheep farm in Burke, New York; and at the St. Lawrence County Cornell Cooperative Extension Learning Farm in Canton, New York.
Downing Acres is also participating in a USDA study evaluating if some animals, particularly the Katahdin breed of sheep, are naturally more parasite-resistant.
The Parasite Management Innovations for NNY Sheep and Goat Producers Project continues with NNYADP funding in 2014. Learn more about small livestock and other agricultural sectors in northern New York at www.nnyagdev.org
or contact Cornell Cooperation Extension in Clinton, Essex, Franklin, Jefferson, Lewis or St. Lawrence counties.