This was a Sustainable Farming Fund funded project run in colaboration with Robin McAnulty and Dr Andy Greer of Lincoln University.
Targeted selective treatment (TST) is a system for identifying livestock that is underperforming due to internal parasites (helminths), by repeated individual weighing (e.g. fortnightly), and then comparing individual animals liveweight gain with empirically validated growth curves tailored to the specific species, breed, and feed / pasture levels. Complimentary research has shown that animals that deviate below the optimal growth rate band, are mostly likely to be underperforming due to internal parasite loads. Animals that are underperforming can then be separated from the other well performing animal for selective treatment.
TST systems were originally created to address resistance to agrichemical drenches, by only treating animals that are underperforming due to parasite loads. In organic systems, synthetic chemical drenches are prohibited. This research has been developing an alternative technique that uses ‘bioactive forages’, whereby instead of being drenched, stock are placed on ‘hospital paddocks / fields’ containing a range of bioactive forages that have been shown to reduce internal parasites compared with standard pasture.