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ENVIRONMENTALLY SENSITIVE APPROACHES TO NEMATODE PARASITE CONTROL IN SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURAL SYSTEMS FOR SHEEP AND GOATS

Objective



Current systems of sheep and goat production within the EU are almost wholly reliant upon intensivechemoprophylaxis for the control of nematodes. Whilst this intensive chemoprophylaxis offers some short-term economic benefits, the clear consensus from studies in Europe and elsewhere is that such intensive athelmintic regimes are not sustainable any more, due to the rapid development of anthelmintic resistance in nematodes. The rate at which drug resistance increases within the EU will depend upon measures that are taken to reduce the selection and dissemination of resistance. A reduction in chemoprophylaxis within the EU would reduce the risk of developing anthelmintic resistance, have environmental benefits, improve the marketability of sheep and goat products and may help alleviate public concern about chemical residues in foodstuffs. However, this should be done at no risk to animal health, well being and productivity, and include management options that utilise naturally induced immunity to parasites. Thus the objective of the proposal is to develop sustainable systems for sheep and goats which meet. criteria for animal health and well being, and produce quality products, whilst minimising dependence on chemotherapy for the control of gastrointestinal parasitism.
This will be done by first utilising new concepts and technologies based on well proven methodologies. First the available options for a reduction in the chemotherapeutical control of parasitism in existing systems in France, Greece, Spain and the UK will be considered. This will also include epidemiological surveys in the areas where information is lacking, and will include transferring new methodologies from France and the UK to the other two partners. Across Europe the timing of lambing with regard to the seasonal growth of pastures differs. The relationship of timing of lambing in relation to pasture growth and the periparturient relaxation in immunity to parasites will be studied in greater depth. Protein supply and quality are implicated in this immune response.
Investigations of the value of new biotechnological advances for protecting S-containing amino acids from rumen degradation and their effects on the development of the immune response will be studied in France and the UK. Studies on new low input forage based systems in Greece will aim to detect whether under these situations there are likely to be major problems with nematodes and to what extent protein supplementation can avoid the adverse effects and help reduce anthelmintic usage. Similar approaches in Spain will be undertaken and in both countries the effect on product quality (in relation to MRL and otherwise) will be studied. The effects of protein and energy nutrition on, expression of immunity to parasites in pregnant and lactating reproducing animals (sheep and goats) which produce' milk or fibre will enable us to quantify the contribution of the adults to pasture contamination. The very latest methodologies in the measurement of the acquisition and expression of immunity in small ruminants will be further developed and shared.
The information derived from the above studies will be integrated (including a costlbenefit analysis) and here the advantages of an existing simulation of helminth epidemiology will be fully exploited and further developed. This. will allow us to integrate the components of helminth epidemiology according to the immune status of the host and its level of nutrition. The outcome will be information we can test in the development of systems for sheep and goat production that are less dependent on chemoprophylaxis. This information will be disseminated using the partnerships' close links to the industry, the association of a major feeding company, and by using a farmer's co-, operative SME as a model for the dissemination of the information by all partners. Substantial economic benefit to the EU will result from the reduced dependency on chemoprophylaxis, improvement of product quality, the reduction in the economic and welfare costs associated with the ravages of anthelmintic resistance, and reduced pollution. ,

Funding Scheme

CSC - Cost-sharing contracts

Coordinator

Scottish Agricultural College (SAC)
Address
West Mains Road
EH9 3JG Edinburgh
United Kingdom

Participants (3)

ARISTOTLE UNIVERSITY OF THESSALONIKI
Greece
Address

540 06 Thessaloniki
I.N.R.A. - CENTRE DE RECHERCHE DE TOURS-NOUZILLY
France
Address

37380 Nouzilly
SERVICIO DE INVESTIGACION AGROALIMENTARIA - DIPUTACION GENERAL DE ARAGON
Spain
Address
Ctra. De Montañana, 176 - P.o. Box 727
50080 Zaragoza