Sainfoin – new data on anthelmintic effects and production in sheep and goats
Gastrointestinal nematodes (GIN) are one of the most important problems affecting health and therefore performance and welfare in small ruminant husbandry. The control of these parasites in the past strongly relied on the repeated use of anthelmintic drugs. This has led to nematode populations which are resistant to most of the currently available anthelmintics. Furthermore customer's demands for organic and residue free animal products are increasing. The aforementioned problems have given a strong impetus for the development of new non-chemical strategies to control GIN. Previous research has pointed out the anthelmintic potential of sainfoin (Onobrychis viciifolia, cv. Visnovsky) and other tanniferous (CT) feed sources in goats and lambs infected with GIN. A recent Swiss experiment focussed on the use of sainfoin and field bean (Vicia faba, cv. Scirocco) as single CT sources as well as in combination for additional synergic effects, to reduce periparturient GIN egg rise of ewes in late gestation and early lactation. Another experiment with Alpine goats concentrated on the influence of sainfoin on milk performance and cheese quality. The results of these experiments will be presented and discussed in connection with previous knowledge on (i) anthelmintic effects of sainfoin and (ii) the influence of sainfoin administration on performance.