Arkansas State University-Jonesboro
J. Kevin Humphrey, PhD
Gastro-intestinal parasite (GIP) infection causes economic & productive losses to sheep producers by poor weight gain, lethargy, diarrhea and potentially death. GIP multi-drug resistance is documented and reduces effectiveness of anthelmintic drenches. Continuing larval challenge may also cause significant production losses. Strategies for GIP control must focus on preventing buildup of infective larvae rather than treating infection. Forages with condensed tannins (CT) are known to decrease parasite egg viability in some sheep GIP. Camelina sativa is an emerging oil seed crop in the U.S. After the oil extraction process, the Camelina by-product meal contains roughly 10% residual oil, 40% crude protein, and 10% phytochemical constituents, including CT.
As a feed additive, can Camelina meal reduce GIP infection and dependence on antihelminthics? A preliminary study at A-State added Camelina meal to a daily rationed ewe diet to determine if this novel approach impacts fecal egg count (FEC) of common GIP. Preliminary results indicate decreased FEC for the group fed Camelina meal. We will characterize the relationships of Camelina sativa meal as a feed additive, levels of nematode infective larvae contamination, and dependence on anthelmintics for GIP control. The oil fraction of Camelina sativa has been well characterized but the potential of by-product meal as a livestock feed, and its phytochemical constituents as a potential parasite control strategy have not been characterized. We aim to characterize this relationship.
Activity #1: Determine if supplementation with Camelina sativa meal into integrated, bunk feeding system is an effective, alternative method to control GIP, reduce production losses due to anthelmintic resistance and enhance sustainable sheep production in the United States. Activity #2: Promote interest and discussion among sheep producers and entrepreneurial businesses for new consumer products. Researchers will conduct a majority of the project on the Arkansas State University farm while working closely with collaborator sheep producers in the region. Collaborating herds will be randomly assigned to either receive 10% Camelina sativa meal added to the herdsí base ration or no meal added (control diet). Camelina meal will be supplied to the collaborator producers by the university. Fecal samples will be collected and tested for nematode egg count.
Results may vary slightly due to differences in producers but the anticipated results are a reduction in FEC for sheep receiving Camelina meal. Findings will be disseminated to producers and businesses through working with Extension services and employing electronic, multi-media techniques, field days, and workshops.