Video | Business Headlines | Internet | Science | Scientific Ethics | Technology | Search

 


CARLA could soon help combat goat parasites

CARLA could soon help combat goat parasites

A saliva test successfully used for selecting sheep with enhanced protective immunity to internal parasites may soon be also helping to increase the productivity and profitability of goat farming.

AgResearch Senior scientist Richard Shaw, who’s based at the Hopkirk Research Institute in Palmerston North, has developed a test – based on the CARLA test – that has the potential to help the goat farming industry.

The CARLA saliva test was originally developed for use in sheep, but has positive applications for goats.

Farmed goats are vulnerable to parasites, which can impact their growth, health and productivity. Although goats evolved as browsers (nibbling on shrubs and small trees), intensification of farming has meant goats are forced to graze pasture where parasite infections are more likely to occur.

Parasites can quickly develop resistance to anthelmintic drenches, and this resistance seems more prevalent in goats than in cattle and sheep. Additionally, ongoing reliance on chemical control of parasites is not sustainable. In the New Zealand dairy goat industry most flocks are housed indoors and grass is cut and carried to the animals to minimise parasite infections, but this kind of management is costly and time-consuming to the farmer.

Mr Shaw, who has years of experience in dealing with parasite infections in livestock, says he saw a need to investigate the test as an alternative approach to controlling internal parasites in goats.

“The CARLA saliva test involves taking a sample of a goat’s saliva and testing it in the lab, to detect an antibody response to parasite infection in the animal’s gut,” he says.

“CARLA is a carbohydrate molecule found on the surface of third-stage internal parasite larvae in livestock. The presence of antibodies interferes with the parasite's ability to take hold in the animal’s gut, which leads to resistance to infection, a desirable trait to breed.

“For the past three decades the standard method for identifying animals with enhanced protective immunity to parasites has involved counting eggs in animal faeces. While this has been used in sheep successfully, faecal egg counting is not as reliable in goats, particularly when it comes to being used as a variable for selection and breeding.”

The first trial in 2012, funded by Beef and Lamb NZ residue goat levy, tested 48 Angora goats; while the next round of research, funded by the Ministry for Primary Industries’ Sustainable Farming Fund, began in July 2013 and is ongoing for three years – mainly testing 400 Angora does and their progeny.

“So far it looks like the CARLA results are more reliable than the faecal egg counting results,” says Mr Shaw.

In the future his research may help goat breeders to select animals with naturally higher levels of immunity to parasites – a long-term and sustainable way of limiting the impact of parasitic infection on the industry.

Breeding programmes may take eight to 10 years to have an impact, but are likely to improve immunity to parasites such as roundworm. It may also mitigate time-consuming and costly animal management practices for goat farmers.

That has great implications for our export industry, and for increasing the production in the goat dairy, fleece and meat sectors.

Goat farming is a growing area, worth millions to New Zealand: approximately $110 million a year in dairy (milk), $600,000 a year in mohair (Angora fleece) and $10 million a year in meat trade. There are approximately 210 mohair goat producers in New Zealand and more than 50 suppliers to Dairy Group Co-operative Ltd (DGC). Goat milk is a highly desirable dairy product, with goat milk solids worth more than cow milk solids.

About AgResearch: AgResearch is New Zealand's largest Crown Research Institute and focuses on supporting the country’s pastoral sector through scientific research and innovation.

Our purpose is to enhance the value, productivity and profitability of New Zealand's pastoral, agri-food and agri-technology sector value-chains to contribute to economic growth and beneficial environmental and social outcomes for the country. We do this by partnering with the pastoral sector to identify the innovation that is needed and deliver our collective expertise to create value for New Zealand.

www.agresearch.co.nz

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines

 

Strike: Lyttelton Port Workers Vote To Escalate Dispute

Members of the Rail and Maritime Transport Union (RMTU) at Lyttelton Port today voted to escalate their industrial action. Around 200 RMTU members have been operating an overtime ban since 17 December and today they endorsed a series of full withdrawals of labour at the port. More>>

ALSO:

Scoop Business: NZ Dollar Falls To 3-Year Low As Investors Favour Greenback

The New Zealand dollar fell to its lowest in more than three years as investors sold euro and bought US dollars, weakening other currencies against the greenback. More>>

ALSO:

Scoop Business: NZ Govt Operating Deficit Smaller Than Expected

The New Zealand’s government’s operating deficit was smaller than expected in the first five months of the financial year as a clampdown on expenditure managed to offset a shortfall in the tax-take from last month’s forecast. More>>

ALSO:

0.8 Percent Annually:
NZ Inflation Falls Below RBNZ's Target

New Zealand's annual pace of inflation slowed to below the Reserve Bank's target band in the final three months of the year, giving governor Graeme Wheeler more room to keep the benchmark interest rate lower for longer.More>>

ALSO:

NASA, NOAA: Find 2014 Warmest Year In Modern Record

Since 1880, Earth’s average surface temperature has warmed by about 1.4 degrees Fahrenheit (0.8 degrees Celsius), a trend that is largely driven by the increase in carbon dioxide and other human emissions into the planet’s atmosphere. The majority of that warming has occurred in the past three decades. More>>

ALSO:

Scoop Business: New Zealand’s Reserve Bank Named Central Bank Of The Year

The Reserve Bank of New Zealand’s efforts to stifle house price inflation by using new policy tools has seen the institution named Central Bank of the year by Central Banking Publications, a publisher specialising in global central banking practice. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 
Standards New Zealand

Standards New Zealand
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Sci-Tech
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news