Project: Tackling the parasitological challenges in organic ruminant farming practices

Parasitism is well recognized as a major challenge to the health and welfare of organic livestock. In organic small ruminant production systems, endoparasitic disease is accepted as the most important multifactorial syndrome, resulting in lack of appetite, diarrhoea, anaemia and in extreme cases, death. In organic cattle production, despite the low stocking densities and use of improved grazing management practices, helminth infections are still a significant issue. Although previous projects funded either by EC or National Governments have largely delivered the underpinning scientific research, progress in the implementation of suitable control strategies has been hindered by: i) limitations of research at farm systems level, ii) absence of clear cost-benefit and societal analysis and iii) difficulties in reaching and educating the appropriate stakeholders. This project aspires to address these limitations by: i) assessing existing knowledge from research, development and benchmarking studies on alternatives to parasite control on organic farms, ii) collecting novel data on disease prevalence, risk assessment analysis and parasite control measures, through monitoring (farm surveys and organic stakeholder participation studies), iii) performing cost-benefit analysis on alternative parasite control measures and iv) developing and delivering technical innovation to facilitate implementation of sustainable parasite control strategies. The overall objective of this project is to generate novel information, including liver fluke prevalence data, risk assessment analysis for liver fluke, cost-benefit analysis of alternatives to gastrointestinal nematodes (GIN) control and innovative tools, such as a device for automatic weight registrations while the animals are on pasture/grazing for targeted selected treatment for GIN control and a user-friendly decision tree in the form of an electronic application to help farmers with the control of fasciolosis. We will focus on pasture-borne parasitic diseases, as they are the most relevant to organic conditions of production, and in particular helminthoses, such as GIN and trematodes (the common liver fluke).

Acronym PrOPara (Reference Number: 477)
Duration 02/03/2015 - 02/03/2018
Project Topic 3. Livestock health management system including breeding
Website visit project website
Network CORE Organic Plus
Call Transnational Research in Organic Food and Farming Systems (2014)

Project partner

Number Name Role Country
1 Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences Partner Denmark
2 Louis Bolk Institute Partner Netherlands
4 Scotland's Rural College Coordinator United Kingdom
5 FiBL - Research Institute of Organic Agriculture Partner Switzerland
6 n/a Partner Germany
7 Wageningen University and Researche Centre Partner Netherlands
8 n/a Partner Sweden
9 Lithuanian University of Health Sciences, Veterinary Academy Partner Lithuania