Great Basin Naturalist


During May through October 1976, samples of sheep pellets containing laboratory-reared, thirdstage Haemonchus contortus larvae were placed on irrigated and nonirrigated pasture plots at Provo, Utah. Periodically thereafter, grass clippings, soil scrapings, and remaining pellets were collected and baermannized to determine their comparative survival from the two environments. Water was added to the irrigated plots in accordance with a weekly sprinkling regime designed to furnish sufficient moisture to maintain pasture grass in this semiarid region. Meteorologic measurements were collected daily from both irrigated and nonirrigated sections. During the year the nonirrigated section received a total of 131 mm of precipitation, whereas an additional 979 mm of water were added via sprinkling to the irrigated section. The monthly mean maximum temperature at soil surface under grass cover for the six-month study period on the irrigated section averaged 17.7 C less than on the nonirrigated section, and the corresponding soil moisture content remained 14.4 percent higher. A bioclimatograph of conditions on the nonirrigated section showed that none of the months during the year had levels of temperature and moisture which fell within the prescribed limits for optimum pasture transmission of H. contortus; on the irrigated section only October of the six-month study period failed to have suitable conditions for optimum pasture transmission. Larvae placed on the plots survived significantly longer and also in significantly greater numbers on the irrigated section, and irrigation enhanced the ability of larvae to migrate from pellets onto vegetation.