In a collaborative project between FiBL and the Interjurassian Rural Foundation (FRI), innovatives methods for regulating parasite pressure by pastures management have been elaborated in the past years. Besindes other project outcomes, a control and evaluation tool for parasites infection risk on pasture has been developped (Heckendorn et Frutschi, 2012). The tool has been pre-validated in dairy herds.
In the current project, the prevalence of parasite populations resistant to anthelmintics will be assessed in cattle of the Jura and the Bernese Jura region (Switzerland). Furthermore, efficient strategies to slow down resistence development will be communicated to farmers. The evaluation tool for the determination of parasite infection risk will be consolidated in dairy livestock and adapted for suckler livestock. Finally, beneficial effect of mixted or alternated grazing between bovines and horses will be assessed within the framework of the project.
In the first grazing period, young bovines are exposed to many parasites present on pasture, while their immune systetem is not able to respond to these infections. Pasture borne parasites can strongly harm the health and well-being of young animals and influence their development. Internal parasites are usually controlled with chemical anthelmintics. These products can become ineffective when parasites develop resistances against them and can also cause several environmental problems (Boxall et. al. 2003). When parasite pressure on pasture remains moderate during the first year of grazing, young bovines are able to developed immune defenses whitch protect them sufficiently against most parasites and particularly gastro-intestinal nematodes. This protection is also sustained in the second and forthcoming pasture seasons.