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Tackling the parasitological challenges arising from organic farming practices - ProPara Mid Term report

Athanasiadou, Spiridoula (2016) Tackling the parasitological challenges arising from organic farming practices - ProPara Mid Term report. ProPara midterm report. Scotland's Rural College (SRUC) .

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Summary

The ProPara midterm project report sets out progress on several tasks.
- Liver fluke (Fasciola) prevalence on dairy farms in EU and risk factor analysis took place in the Netherlands, Denmark, Germany, and Lithuania. In the Netherlands, neighbouring cattle farms have been identified based on Fasciola levels (farms with high or levels of Fasciola) to participate in the risk factor analysis. An additional objective was to validate the bulk milk samples antibodies as a diagnostic tool for the disease. It was reported that the outcomes of blood antibodies were not always in line with milk antibodies, questioning the validity of milk antibodies for Fasciola diagnosis. In Denmark, organic dairy farmers with more than 100 animals (n=372) were contacted for interview regarding fasciolosis prevalence. All farm management information for risk factor analysis is now collected and ELISAs for bulk-tank milk antibodies are underway. Prevalence of Fasciola hepatica in Bavarian organic dairy farms, Germany has been found to be 47 % which is significantly higher than the prevalence in conventional dairy farms (35,8%). An analysis of risk factors additional to grazing in organic dairy farms that contribute to the higher prevalence is in progress. In Lithuania, the prevalence study showed that 31% and 47% of examined cattle farms were positive of Fasciola and Paramphistomum (small liver fluke), respectively. Only 10% of sheep farms were infected with Fasciola. The questionnaire used in all countries is the same and was composed with input from all project partners participating in this part of the ProPara project. Other partners had the opportunity to commend on it, to cover aspects relevant to their countries.
- The evaluation of alternatives to gastrointestinal nematodes control took place in the UK, France, and Sweden. In the UK on-farm trials were performed, where alternative strategies of gastrointestinal parasite control were tested by organic sheep farmers. Soya supplementation reduced parasite counts in lactating ewes, whereas the use of weight loss as a proxy for the level of parasitism (TST) did not appear to be associated with the levels of parasitism. In France, we evaluated the relationship between farmer’s perception on the level of parasitism and scientific criteria in goat farms. The idea was that the farmers reported a number of criteria they used to drench the goats and these criteria were evaluated for 1) validity and pertinence (by comparing those to scientific criteria) and 2) their acceptance by the farmers. This procedure took place in both experimental and commercial farms and under mixed parasite challenge. In Sweden a grazing trial which aimed to determine the resilience (ability of the animal to maintain productivity under parasitic challenge) of dairy breeds subjected to gastrointestinal parasites has been performed. One of the expected outcomes of this experiment is the evaluation of the use of animal weight as a proxy for the level of parasitism in cattle. The results are currently being analysed
- Two questionnaires (for cattle and for small ruminants) were developed by FiBL, Switzerland to determine the status quo of helminth control practices in organic ruminant farms across the EU. All partners have been requested to collect data on one of dairy cattle, sheep and goats; most of data collection has been completed and the final data are currently being finalised. A Swiss survey on meat sheep and dairy goats is already completed. Data are currently being analysed
- One of the eagerly anticipated outcomes of this project is the creation of an electronic application by LMU, Germany for electronic devices that will enable the farmers to evaluate the risk of liver fluke on their animals and drench based on that. The app is based on a published decision tree for the control of bovine fasciolosis and is now ready to be tested on 20 farms (compared to 20 farms that are given the decision tree and all necessary information as booklet).


EPrint Type:Report
Subjects: Animal husbandry > Production systems > Beef cattle
Animal husbandry > Feeding and growth
Animal husbandry > Production systems > Sheep and goats
Animal husbandry > Health and welfare
Research affiliation: European Union > CORE Organic Plus > PrOPara
UK > Scottish Rural Colleges (SRUC - previously SAC)
Deposited By: Athanasiadou, Dr Spiridoula
ID Code:33721
Deposited On:11 Sep 2018 09:08
Last Modified:11 Sep 2018 09:08
Document Language:English
Status:Unpublished
Refereed:Not peer-reviewed

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