Parasites and drenching are likely to be one of the topics of
conversation at the inaugural NZGoats conference in
Queenstown later this month.
The conference is to be held from May 23 to 25 and is being
run by Federated Farmers' goat industry groups in association
with Meat Goat New Zealand and the New Zealand Boer Goat
One of the speakers is AgResearch senior scientist Richard
Shaw, of Palmerston North, who will update the conference
with his work on Carla saliva tests for goats.
Based at the Hopkirk Research Centre at Massey University, Mr
Shaw has researched parasite immunology for 27 years.
Following the discontinuation of the wool and goat meat levy
in 2010, Beef + Lamb New Zealand (BLNZ) distributed about
$115,000 of unspent goat levy money to five projects,
including three which looked at parasites and drenching in
goats, in 2011.
AgResearch was given $20,000 for parasite research.
In addition to the BLNZ grant, AgResearch also received
funding from the Sustainable Farming Fund for a three-year
project that looked at the Carla (carbohydrate larval
antigen) saliva test for goats in 2013.
''The Carla test measures the level of antibodies, which
developed in Angora goats in response to larval challenges,''
Mr Shaw said.
The research also looked at trait heritability in relation to
parasites in Angora goats and if there were correlations with
Research also included whether there was a correlation
between antibody levels with faecal egg counts in dairy
goats. Mr Shaw said research for the Carla saliva test, which
was initially developed for sheep, showed that some animals
coped better with parasites and that those with high levels
of antibodies were better able to resist the larval
That meant farmers could select animals that suffered less
from the effects of parasites and passed fewer worm eggs into
''However, there is still a lot of work to be done,'' Mr Shaw
''So far, we have found that the response in goats is a bit
weaker than it is in sheep and it takes longer for younger
animals to develop it.
''A young lamb of about six months old is showing some sort
of immunity to the larvae challenge, but goats need to wait
at least 12 months.
''That is just a reflection that the goat has evolved as a
browser rather than a grazer, so its immune response is a bit
Carla testing was seasonal, with the larval challenge high in
April, May, June and July.
- by Yvonne O'Hara