Effects of helminth infection on the pre-weaning production of ewes and lambs: comparison between safe and contaminated pasture
Waller, P.J., Axelsen, A., Donald, A.D., Morley, F.H.W., Dobson, R.J. and Donnelly, J.R. (1987) Effects of helminth infection on the pre-weaning production of ewes and lambs: comparison between safe and contaminated pasture. Australian Veterinary Journal, 64 (12). pp. 357-362.
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Comparison was made of the performances of cross-bred ewes and their lambs on pastures of low helminth infectivity ("safe" pastures) or contaminated pastures and at high or low stocking rates. Ewes grazing the safe, but not the contaminated, pastures were given a single pre-lambing drench. The largest difference in parasite infection between treatments was the level of exposure of sheep to Trichostrongylus spp, which was negligible on the safe pastures. The effects of parasite control on lamb growth were significant only in twins during the last 2 months before weaning. However, 22% of lambs on contaminated plots became soiled in the breech area and 38% were flystruck, compared with 8% and 10% respectively for lambs on the safe pastures. Ewe bodyweight gains were greater at low than at high stocking rate and were not affected by the parasite control treatments; differences in breech soiling and fly strike were similar to those in the lambs. Most importantly the parasite treatment produced a highly significant effect on ewe fleece weight at weaning. Ewes drenched and lambing on the safe pastures produced an extra 0.43 kg of wool, calculated to represent an increase of at least 40% during this period at the low-level of parasitic infection.
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