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Can I control goat parasites with sericea lespedeza in Washington State?

Answer: While Sericea lespedeza is not listed as a noxious weed for Washington, the state Noxious Weed Control Board does not encourage its propagation. For specific information, contact Alison Hapern directly at 360-902-2053 or ahalpern@agr.wa.gov.However, there are other ways that you can control goat parasites. For starters, consult the ATTRA publication Tools for Managing Internal Parasites in Small Ruminants: Sericea Lespedeza. It is available on the ATTRA website at https://attra.ncat.org/attra-pub/summaries/summary.php?pub=217. This publication lists some other species that produce tannins, such as birdsfoot trefoil, and lists the amounts of tannins.In all probability, the Barber Pole Worm will be your most notable parasite. FAMACHA scoring your goats is a handy way for you to assess the degree of Barber Pole infestation. Consult with your extension agent or veterinarian for a FAMACHA trainer in your area.One of the best means of controlling parasites in your goats is to apply the correct grazing strategy. This includes a 35-day pasture rest, less than four-day paddock grazing periods, and leaving 6 to 8 inches of residual behind. For more details, consult the ATTRA publication Tools for Managing Internal Parasites in Small Ruminants: Pasture Management, available at https://attra.ncat.org/attra-pub/summaries/summary.php?pub=415. There is also an ATTRA video describing this and many other aspects of intensive grazing, entitled Intensive Grazing, One Farm’s Set Up. Check it out at https://attra.ncat.org/video/.Additional articles on grazing controls and FAMACHA can be found at the American Consortium for Small Ruminant Parasite Control website at http://www.acsrpc.org/Ttopics.html.It is advantageous to develop diverse species of plants in your pasture sward. Other grass and legume species that you could consider in your pasture are perennial ryegrass, meadowbrome grass, orchard grass, and Garrison creeping meadow foxtail. The rye grass and meadow foxtail will establish fairly easily by tromping them in during the early spring. I would recommend a stocking density of 18 of your goats per 1/8 or less of an acre when you tromp in the seed, even if you have to move them two to three times a day. Make sure that there are hoof prints everywhere.Legumes that you might consider are birdsfoot trefoil, red clover, white clover (Alice), and alfalfa. You might experiment with some chicory. If you could get it established, your goats would like it.Lastly, On Pasture provides the reader with lively information on grazing. You can find it at http://onpasture.com/. An additional site that is always informative is the Maryland Small Ruminant Page at http://www.sheepandgoat.com/.