Charles Sturt University
Graham Centre for Agricultural Innovation

Thomas Williams

 Thomas Williams

Impact of parasitism on the health, development and production of buffalo in Australia and Pakistan

Impact of parasitism on the health, development and production of buffalo in Australia and Pakistan

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Parasitism has a major impact on livestock production worldwide. Many developed agricultural countries consistently struggle with losses in highly managed systems. The impacts of parasites on livestock production in countries with a developing agricultural sector are less well understood.

Pakistan is the third largest milk producing country globally; its dairy sector is of high value to this developing nation. Dairy currently provides jobs for 25% of Pakistan's working population. Milk produced provides a highly valued and important source of nutrition for a hungry nation. In Pakistan's dairy herd, buffalo make 62% of the 62.9 million animals in the milking herd. This constitutes 67% of total milk production.

Australia's buffalo industry is an evolving industry with livestock numbers increasing annually. Due to the relatively young age of the industry, there is little information regarding the prevalence and impact of parasites on Australian buffalo. International publications have identified a number of recurring parasite species that utilise buffalo as hosts. Many of these species are multi-host and endemic to Australia. With sheep and livestock acting as perpetuate reservoirs of infection, it is hypothesised that Australian buffalo host a variety of parasitic species that are detrimental to production.

Our study will:

  1. Identify parasites found commonly in Australian and Pakistani buffalo to the species level through the use of morphological and molecular methods
  2. Determine parasite prevalence in relation to Agro-Climatic zones and farmer management practices
  3. Identify correlations between farmer management practises and relative parasite intensity
  4. Undertake a 2 year controlled infection trial of buffalo under Australian conditions
  5. Develop a parasite control and management strategy for Australian and Pakistani farmers

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  • Graham Centre Postgraduate Research Scholarship
  • Agriculture Sector Linkages Program Dairy Project

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Jenkins DJ, Urwin NAR, Williams TM, Mitchell KL, Lievaart JJ and Armua-Fernandez MT (2014). Red foxes (Vulpes vulpes) and wild dogs (dingoes (Canis lupus dingo) and dingo/domestic dog hybrids), as sylvatic hosts for Australian Taenia hydatigena and Taenia ovis. International Journal for Parasitology: Parasites and Wildlife, 3(2), 75-80. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ijppaw.2014.03.001

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