The end of any year is a good time for reflection and assessment, but this has been a year like no other. We have all been touched by the COVID-19 pandemic, and many of us have lost family, friends, and colleagues. As more people worked from home and faced recurring travel restrictions, IGA members, and Board endeavored to provide more online content and opportunities. The feedback so far has been enthusiastic, with requests for more content in more languages, and we agree! Check the website or social media for updates. And please share any new content from your institution or country! Thank you.
The International Goat Association typically holds the International Goat Conference every four years, but COVID required that we postpone it. The new dates are October 3-8, 2021, and it will still be in Eger, Hungary, but check the IGA website for updates. Here is the ICG Conference website: www.icg2020.org.
The IGA Board of Directors held two virtual meetings this year, on March 24 and October 2, plus a Strategic Planning meeting on December 7. I give special thanks to all of the Board members who have agreed to extend their terms an additional year due to COVID and who also participated in our online and Zoom discussions with great enthusiasm and insight. The new IGA Strategic Plan will be posted on the website once finalized, and it will guide us through the changing world we will find in 2021 and onwards. I want to commend the Strategic Planning Committee, chaired by Davinia Sánchez, and committee members Jean-Marie Luginbuhl, Dilip Bhandari, and Paula Menzies for guiding this crucial process for IGA to increase activity, visibility, and impact.
For millions of smallholder farmers around the world, small ruminants – sheep and goats – provide a vital source of food, income and security. Threatening this, however, is a devastating and highly contagious livestock disease known as peste des petits ruminants (PPR), or sheep and goat plague. As one of the world’s most damaging livestock diseases, PPR spreads rapidly through herds, killing anywhere from 30 to 70 percent of those infected and placing the livelihoods of farmers and their households at significant risk.
First identified in Côte d'Ivoire nearly 80 years ago, PPR continues to threaten an estimated 2 billion heads — 80 percent — of the global sheep and goat population in more than 70 countries across Africa, Asia and the Middle East. While concerted global efforts to eradicate the disease have resulted in the development of vaccines over the decades, reaching farmers’ remote and often inaccessible locations with these life-saving PPR vaccines has been costly and logistically difficult.
Overcoming barriers: Nepal at the forefront in global fight
Overcoming these barriers is the focus of an innovative partnership between Feed the Future Partnering for Innovation, a USAID-funded program that builds partnerships with the private sector to deliver agricultural innovations to smallholder farmers, and Hester Biosciences Nepal Private Limited (Hester Biosciences). Through this partnership, Hester Biosciences is now the first private sector firm to produce a thermostable version of the PPR vaccine, originally developed at Tufts University in the United States, that offers transformative potential to end the spread of the disease in Nepal and beyond.
John Sanders, Yue Xie, David Gazzola, Hanchen Li, Ambily Abraham, Kelly Flanagan, Florentina Rus, Melanie Millerd, Yan Hu, Sierra Guynn, Austin Draper, Sridhar Vakalapudi, Katherine H. Petersson, Dante Zarlenga, Robert W. Li, Joseph F. Urban Jr., Gary R. Ostroff, Anne Zajac, and Raffi V. Aroian
Haemonchus contortus is a critical parasite of goats and sheep. Infection by this blood-feeding gastrointestinal nematode (GIN) parasite has significant health consequences, especially in lambs and kids. The parasite has developed resistance to virtually all known classes of small molecule anthelmintics used to treat it, giving rise in some areas to multidrug resistant parasites that are very difficult to control. Thus, new anthelmintics are urgently needed. Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) crystal protein 5B (Cry5B), a naturally occurring protein made by a bacterium widely and safely used around the world as a bioinsecticide, represents a new non-small molecule modality for treating GINs. Cry5B has demonstrated anthelmintic activities against parasites of monogastric animals, including some related to those that infect humans, but has not yet been studied in a ruminant. Here we show that H. contortus adults are susceptible to Cry5B protein in vitro. Cry5B produced in its natural form as a spore-crystal lysate against H. contortus infections in goats had no significant efficacy. However, a new Active Pharmaceutical Ingredient (API) paraprobiotic form of Cry5B called IBaCC (Inactivated Bacterium with Cytosolic Crystals), in which Cry5B crystals are encapsulated in dead Bt cell wall ghosts, showed excellent efficacy in vitro against larval stages of H. contortus and relative protein stability in bovine rumen fluid. When given to sheep experimentally infected with H. contortus as three 60 mg/kg doses, Cry5B IBaCC resulted in significant reductions in fecal egg counts (90%) and parasite burdens (72%), with a very high impact on female parasites (96% reduction). These data indicate that Cry5B IBaCC is a potent new treatment tool for small ruminants in the battle against H. contortus.
WASHINGTON, December 9, 2020 — The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Agriculture Research Service (ARS) today announced a groundbreaking treatment that prevents anemia, weight loss, poor wool and meat production, and even death in sheep.
ARS researchers partnered with Virginia Tech and the University of Massachusetts' Medical School to solve H. contortus parasite infection, which also happens to be the number one health problem in the U.S. sheep industry. The parasite infects the stomach of ruminant mammals, feeding and interfering with digestion, before ultimately affecting the animal's overall health and stability.
"The H. contortus parasite has developed resistance to virtually all known classes of anti-parasitic drugs," said ARS Researcher Dr. Joseph Urban, who lead the research team in testing and implementation of a para-probiotic treatment to kill the parasite that causes H.contortus.
The worm parasite mates within the animal and its fertilized eggs pass through the animal's waste into the soil. The larvae then develop to re-infect other unsuspecting animals, spreading the infection throughout a pasture and creating a cycle of infection that hinders animal growth, development and production.
Guidelines for quantication
The methodology developed in these draft guidelines aims to introduce a harmonized international approach to the assessment of the environmental performance of small ruminant supply chains in a manner that takes account of the specificity of the various production systems involved. It aims to increase understanding of small ruminant supply chains and help improve their environmental performance. The guidelines are a product of the Livestock Environmental Assessment and Performance (LEAP) Partnership, a multi-stakeholder initiative whose goal is to improve the environmental sustainability of the livestock sector through better metrics and data.
The small ruminant1 sector is of worldwide importance. It comprises a wide diversity of systems that provide a variety of products and functions. In 2011, sheep and goats produced more than 5 million tonnes of meat and 24 million tonnes of milk. Production has increased by 1.7 percent and 1.3 percent per year, respectively, during the past 20 years (FAO, 2013). This increase was driven mainly by developing countries in Africa and Asia. However, Oceania (mainly for meat) and Europe still contribute significantly to production. Production systems can vary from intensive systems, in which animals are partially or predominantly housed, to extensive systems that rely on grazing and native forages, and transhumance systems that involve large flock movements. Products are not restricted to meat and milk; sheep are also valued for their wool (more than 2 million tonnes of greasy wool was produced in 2011), and goats for their mohair and cashmere. Small ruminants also play a crucial role in sustaining livelihoods in traditional, small-scale, rural and family-based production systems. Across the small ruminant sector, there is strong interest in measuring and improving environmental performance.
In the development of these draft guidelines, the following objectives were regarded as key:
These guidelines underwent a public review. The purpose of the review was to strengthen the advice provided and ensure it meets the needs of those seeking to improve performance through sound assessment practice. The present document is not intended to remain static. It will be updated and improved as the sector evolves and more stakeholders become involved in LEAP, and as new methodological frameworks and data become available. The development and inclusion of guidance on the evaluation of additional environmental impacts is viewed as a critical next step.
The strength of the guidelines developed within the LEAP Partnership for the various livestock subsectors stems from the fact that they represent a coordinated cross-sectoral and international effort to harmonize measurement approaches. Ideally, harmonization will lead to greater understanding, transparent application and communication of metrics, and, importantly for the sector, real and measurable improvement in performance.
Data Driven Dairy Decisions for Farmers
This guide aims to assist dairy goat farmers using new technologies on farm. It outlines the different technologies available for goats, and offers some general advice on their use.
In the European Union, dairy goat sector is pretty small when compared to dairy cows sector. Even so, EU owns only 3 % of the world’s dairy goat herds, but produces 10.5 % of the world’s goat milk (FAOSTAT, 2014); this is the only continent where goat milk has such an economic importance and organization. In Europe, dairy goat production is more common around the Mediterranean basis, where it is important from an economic, environmental and sociological perspective to the Mediterranean countries (Spain, France, Italy and Greece), but is also important in North Europe countries like the Netherlands.
Productive systems vary from semi-extensive situations to highly technological intensive farms. Some regions have typically extensive grazing-based productions, often using native breeds to produce PDO or PGI products. However, farms using high productive breeds tend to intensification. Anyway, there is room for improvement in all cases, so it is worthwhile to go in depth into all the technologies available for dairy goat producers.
Report submitted by Intercooperation Social Development India
Special thanks to Mamta Dhawan (IGA CR - India)
International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) mandated Intercooperation Social Development to conduct goat value chain analysis. The objectives of the analysis are to:
India with 135 million goat population ranks second in the world in goat meat production and its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) value is Rs. 386 billion. Economically weak and socially backward communities keep goat as subsistence.
The goat production system in the country is categorized as Extensive Grazing (predominant in Odisha), Tethering (Parts of Bihar and Eastern UP), Semi-Intensive Production and Intensive Production Systems. Women perform major activities in goat keeping while men play key role in marketing.
Primary source of goat nutrition is through extensive grazing/browsing with zero to marginal supplements at homes. In addition, some of the challenges in goat feeding include shortage of crop residue with change in pulse cropping and stringent forest regulations.
High mortality, especially of kids (up to 40%) due to diseases like Peste des Pettis Ruminants (PPR), Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) and poor management are major challenges in the goat sub-sector. Despite the Government of India (GoI) initiatives, the estimated annual loss on account of PPR was Rs. 1204 billion in small ruminants and Rs.23.19 billion due to FMD (large ruminants and small ruminants put together).
Non-availability of quality breeding stock is another major challenge resulting in low productivity. The National Livestock Mission (NLM) programme of the Government of India promotes small ruminant development initiatives by using the platforms of women’s Self Help Groups (SHG) and also other cooperative structures.
READ THE FULL REPORT
RLN-FES Microlevel study of the village level animal markets with particular reference to small ruminants (India)
Report of the study conducted in Northern Karnataka Markets
Dr. B. R. Athani
Special thanks to Mamta Dhawan (IGA CR - India)
Increase in urbanization and per capita incomes have lead to shift in preferences of consumers towards protein rich foods, mainly the meat and dairy products. Within the meat subsector, the consumers in the terminal markets can be segmented based on their attitude towards the type of meat in terms of its quality, age, sex and species of origin. As a result, the traditional livestock markets are getting reorganized as monopolistic competitive with focus on the above parameters. On the other hand, the data suggests that shepherding is declining in irrigated areas for want of grazing land and several other factors. But in other areas, predominantly the uplands, the trends are encouraging. The vibrant live animal markets are subtly heralding new opportunities in the subsector.
The study was intended to undertake subsector analysis for small ruminants with more focus on their markets and the supply channels operating in the vicinity of production areas. Subsector was mapped to analyze the dynamics including the gaps in order to identify and address the bottlenecks. The results points out that even though the markets appear monopolistic competitive, still, they are complex and lack considerable degree of transparency in pricing, grading the animals and flow of market information. Traders generally use “nigah” method of pricing that does not employ scientific measurements to determine price.
The price spread appears relatively thin, depends again on size of markets and presence of participants from far off metro cities. The channel length is shorter in small satellite markets where shandy traders and butchers from nearby small towns dominate. The price of the meat in such small markets is also lower compared to the one at metro cities by 20%-30%. Ideally the price of live animals should have direct correlation with price of meat in terminal markets, but we observed that it is never a straight jacket transfer. Apart from trade controlled assessments, tendencies for opportunistic behavior by the buyers based on the local market conditions (in terms of inflow of animals, distresses on part of sellers, number of participants from metros, etc.) determine price trends.
The International Goat Association promotes goat research and development for the benefit of humankind, to alleviate poverty, to promote prosperity and to improve the quality of life.