Helminths or worm parasites present a challenge for organic livestock farmers. Anthelmintic drugs are the most frequently used drugs in organic small ruminant production. Resistance to anthelmintics (up to 95% in sheep and goats and 60% in cattle and horses) and their impact on the environment causes major problems.
RELACS aims to develop strategies to replace anthelmintics in organic livestock production. RELACS will:
- Create an overview of the current use of and need for anthelmintics in organic livestock On the one hand, the information collected will include current management strategies for parasite control. On the other hand, the information collected will cover the farmers’ perception on the rapid development of anthelmintic resistance, its economic consequences and control strategies for the future;
- Develop strategies to reduce anthelmintic use in small ruminants by bioactive forages. This work will focus on parasite control strategies in sheep, which will serve as an example for other livestock;
- Develop strategies to reduce anthelmintic use in small ruminants by biocontrol agents: The efficacy of the biocontrol agent (fungus strain) in presence of tannin-rich components will be assessed;
- Adapt strategies and validate them on farm: These strategies will be evaluated via quantitative data from on farm evaluations of alternative parasite control strategies;
- Perform socio-economic and environmental impact assessments: The assessment will include questions on the efficacy of the alternative treatments, profitability and sustainability of the treatment and its potential for scaling up.