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Worm control on organic farms in the EU: Management and the farmers’ point of view

Werne, Steffen; Moakes, Simon; Hoste, Herve; Verkaik, Jan; Verwer, Cynthia; Petkevičius, Saulius and Athanasiadou, Spiridoula (2019) Worm control on organic farms in the EU: Management and the farmers’ point of view. Paper at: Joint meeting of the COMBAR Working Groups and the ACSRPC "Anthelmintic resistance in ruminants: who cares", Ghent, Belgium, 27-29 August, 2019. [Completed]

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A structured survey was developed to determine farmers’ disposition towards recently developed refugia-based concepts. The focus was on individual drenching, possible increased workload or costs and reduced production that might come with innovations. Furthermore, the survey aimed at assessing the status-quo of gastrointestinal nematode (GIN) control on organic small ruminant farms in 5 European countries. In total 441 surveys of organic certified small ruminant farms were evaluated, of which were 129 dairy goat and 320 meat sheep surveys. Amongst other things, the survey covered applied alternatives such as feeding bioactive forage, increased protein supply, phytotherapy, homeopathy and culling of nematode-susceptible animals. The number of drenches per animal per year in dairy goats varied from 1.3 (CH) to 1.6 (FR), in sheep from 0.8 (LT) to 1.5 (CH) and in lambs from 0.9 (LT) to 1.6 (CH). Applied individual drenching of lambs was relatively low from 2% (LT) to 33% (UK). Sixteen percent (NL) to 36% (CH) of the farmers drenched their dairy goats individually. Eight percent (UK) to 49% (LT) did not drench their lambs at all. Seven percent (CH) to 21% (FR) of the organic farmers did not apply any anthelmintic to their dairy goats. Between 10% (LT) and 40% (NL) of the farmers used faecal sampling to monitor GIN, whereas performance parameters (weight gain or milk yield) were moderately used from 19% (CH) to 41% (LT). The use of phytotherapy varied considerably between livestock species and country from 13% (LT) – 69% (CH). The majority of farmers rather or fully agreed that anthelmintic resistance will worsen in future (51% – 92%). When asked about performance losses that may be caused by the introduction of alternative methods, the agreement was more variable with 7% in NL to 93% in LT. Our data suggest that innovations might be accepted despite higher labor input or costs. As some organic farmers make already use of phenotypic traits like production loss, it should not be a big step towards a “Targeted Selective Treatment” approach for farmers that are open minded towards innovations.

EPrint Type:Conference paper, poster, etc.
Type of presentation:Paper
Keywords:animal health, dairy goats, gestrointestinal nematode, GIN, small ruminants, phytotherapy
Subjects: Animal husbandry > Production systems > Sheep and goats
Animal husbandry > Health and welfare
Research affiliation: Netherlands > Louis Bolk Institute
Switzerland > FiBL - Research Institute of Organic Agriculture Switzerland > Animal > Animal health > Parasitology
Switzerland > FiBL - Research Institute of Organic Agriculture Switzerland > Animal > Small ruminants
France > INRA - Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique
Netherlands > Wageningen University & Research (WUR)
Deposited By: Werne, Dr. Steffen
ID Code:37418
Deposited On:03 Mar 2020 09:26
Last Modified:27 Jul 2021 13:51
Document Language:English
Refereed:Peer-reviewed and accepted

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