Biological control of sheep parasites using Duddingtonia flagrans: trials on commercial farms in Sweden.

Department of Parasitology (SWEPAR), National Veterinary Institute and Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, SE-751 89 Uppsala, Sweden.
Acta veterinaria Scandinavica (Impact Factor: 1.35). 02/2006; 47:23-32. DOI: 10.1186/1751-0147-47-23
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Trials were conducted on 3 commercial sheep farms in Sweden to assess the effect of administering spores of the nematode trapping fungus, Duddingtonia flagrans, together with supplementary feed to lactating ewes for the first 6 weeks from turn-out on pastures in spring. Also control groups of ewes, receiving only feed supplement, were established on all 3 farms. Groups were monitored by intensive parasitological investigation. The ewes and their lambs were moved in late June to saved pastures for summer grazing, the lambs receiving an anthelmintic treatment at this time. After approximately 6 weeks on summer pasture the lambs were weaned, treated a second time with anthelmintic, and returned to their original lambing pastures for finishing. Decisions as to when lambs were to be marketed were entirely at the discretion of the farmer co-operators. No difference in lamb performance was found between the two treatments on all three farms. This was attributed to the high levels of nutrition initially of the ewes limiting their post-partum rise in nematode faecal egg counts in spring, which in turn resulted in low levels of nematode infection on pastures throughout the autumn period. Additionally, pastures were of good quality for the lambs during the finishing period, so they grew at optimal rates as far as the farmers were concerned.

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