Delmarva Farmer Columnists


Are the dewormers still effective on your farm? (Oct. 4, 2016)

Shepherd’s Notebook

By Susan Schoenian, Sheep and Goat Specialist, University of Maryland Extension

The American Sheep Industry Association’s Let’s Grow Program provided funding to facilitate testing for anthelmintic (dewormer) resistance on sheep farms in three southeastern states: Maryland, Virginia, and Georgia.
It is a well-known fact that worms have developed resistance to all the dewormers and dewormer classes currently available to sheep and goat producers. Resistance varies by geographic region. It is worse in the Southeast. It also varies by farm. It is worse on farms that deworm frequently.
On average, worms have become most resistant to the benzimidazole (white) class of dewormers which includes fenbendazole (SafeGuard) and albendazole (Valbazen).
A high level of resistance is also prevalent among the avermectins, which includes ivermectin (Ivomec), doramectin (Dectomax), and eprinomectin (Eprinex).
Levamisole (Prohibit, LevaMed) is the dewormer most likely to still be effective.
Moxidectin (Cydectin) is also still effective on many farms.
There are two ways to test for anthelmintic (or dewormer) resistance: the fecal egg count reduction test (FECRT) or the DrenchRite test.
To do a FECRT, you collect a fecal sample (two to four grams) from an animal, deworm it, then collect a second sample seven to 14 days later. You compare the egg counts between the two samples to determine how effective the drug was.
The first sample should contain at least 200 eggs per gram (of feces).
The data is more reliable with much higher initial fecal egg counts, as 200 epg is a very low egg count for the barber pole worm.
A fecal egg count reduction of 95 percent is desired. Below 95 percent, there are resistant worms in the population.
Below 95 percent, a dewormer may still deliver an effective treatment, but increasingly it will be less effective at killing worms, reducing fecal egg counts, and saving clinically parasitized animals.
You should collect and compare samples from 10 to 15 animals.
You need to do this for each drug you want to test.
It’s also a good idea to collect samples from animals which do not receive treatment (a control group).
Doing a fecal egg count reduction test on one animal or a few animals will give you a general idea if the drug works, especially if clinical signs are improved, but it will not tell you definitively if resistant worms are present.
There are several advantages to the fecal egg count reduction test.
Producers can learn to do their own fecal egg counts.
Any veterinarian or diagnostic lab can perform the test. It’s also possible to test the effectiveness of combination treatments, natural remedies, and other management practices aimed at reducing internal parasitism.
For our Let’s Grow Project, we opted to go with the DrenchRite test. The DrenchRite test (or larval development assay) is a very labor-intensive laboratory test that determines resistance to all four dewormer groups simultaneously from a single pooled sample of feces.
The sample needs to contain at least 400 epg and be from a minimum of eight to 10 animals.
The DrenchRite uses the same 95-percent cut-off value to determine the presence of resistant worms. It also identifies, via the larvae, the type of (strongyle) parasites which are infecting the animals.
The University of Georgia is the only place that performs the test.
The DrenchRit test is an expensive test, but well worth the money if animals are dying from infective treatments or suffering from marginally effective treatments.

There are opportunities for rural cooperatives (Oct. 4, 2016)

Keeping the Farm

By Janice Stroud-Bickes, Acting State Director, USDA Rural Development, Virginia

October is National Cooperatives Month.
Here at USDA Rural Development we choose to support and recognize cooperatives and their impact on rural communities because we see every day that cooperative impact can drastically improve the economy and quality of life in Rural America.
The versatile and democratic nature of the cooperative business model allows its members to collectively address many types of concerns such as affordable housing, local food financing, utilities including broadband, infrastructure needs, agriculture production, and converting existing businesses to worker ownership.
For example, in August we visited BARC Electric Cooperative in Rockbridge, Va.
Gov. Terry McAuliffe and Deputy Under Secretary for USDA Rural Development Lillian Salerno were on hand on Aug. 29 to commission BARC’s new community solar project.
Community solar allows customers in different locations to join together to get electricity from solar power generated at a single facility, rather than each customer having to install solar on their rooftops. BARC has installed solar panels on the old Highland Belle School’s soccer field and has established a solar energy learning center inside the school.
A portion of the project — $250,000 — was funded through a USDA Rural Development Rural Energy for America Program grant.
Applicants don’t need to be a large company or a large cooperatives to go solar or become energy efficient.
In fact, REAP is specifically tailored to assist small enterprises.
Other funding available to help cooperatives includes Rural Cooperative Development Grants, Socially-Disadvantaged Groups Grants, Value Added Producer Grants and Business and Industry Loan Guarantees.
RCDGs ( help cooperative development centers promote rural business ventures.
Participating centers can assist in starting, expanding, or improving the operations of rural cooperatives and other mutually owned businesses.
Using these grants, participants can conduct feasibility studies, develop business plans, provide training, and facilitate strategic planning.
Socially-Disadvantaged Groups Grants are awarded to cooperative development centers, enabling them to offer technical assistance to socially disadvantaged groups.
Examples of technical assistance include feasibility studies, business plans, strategic planning and leadership training.
VAPGs), which we have discussed in this column previously, provide funds to planning activities or for working capital expenses related to producing and marketing a value-added agricultural product.
The funding is available to independent producers, agricultural producer groups, farmer or rancher cooperatives, and majority-controlled producer-based business. In September we funded 20 VAPGs totaling $3.9 million.
B&I loan guarantees ( provide financial backing for rural businesses, which work with private-sector lenders to identify loans that USDA Rural Development will guarantee.
Funds can be used to convert existing business to an employee-owned worker cooperative, purchase land and equipment, and convert or modernize businesses.
USDA Rural Development also helps rural residents form new cooperatives and improve the operations of existing ones through education, technical assistance, research, data collection, and analysis.
We publish Rural Cooperatives magazine and maintain a library of more than 150 co-op publications covering topics that range from introductory information to technical and theoretical information.
Publications are available in hard copy and online at
Cooperatives represent democracy in action, established for the member-owner, by the member-owner.
They generate jobs, and keep profit earned within their community, which is why co-ops empower America and USDA empowers co-ops.