Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Performance & Carcass Contest

The 2016 Western Maryland Pasture-Based Meat Goat Performance Test will feature a Goat Performance & Carcass Contest. The purpose of the contest is to collect performance and carcass data from meat goats fed a moderate energy diet and to recognize producers whose goats excel in performance and carcass merit.

The contest is open to all consignors. Consignors must have a least one goat in the test in order to enter a goat in the contest. Contest goats must have a litter mate or half-sib in the test. There is no cost to enter the contest. The test will cover the cost of feed, health care, slaughter, and data collection. Consignors who consign five goats to the test and have a goat in the carcass contest will receive a discount of $20 per test goat. A minimum of 10 goats and a maximum of 15 is needed to hold the contest.

The criteria for contest goats is the same as test goats: male (buck or wether); any breed or breed cross; born between January 1 and March 15, 2016; weigh between 40 and 70 lbs. upon delivery to test site on June 24; vaccinated for CDT twice, and weaned for at least 2 weeks. Inter- or Intrastate Health papers and official USDA scrapie ID are required for all goats.

The goats will be housed in a 16 ft. x 16 ft. zero grazing pen, with ample room for exercise, social interaction, and expression of natural behavior. They will be fed a hay and grain diet: approximately 2 lbs. per head per day of a mixed alfalfa-grass hay and 1 lb. per head per day day of whole barley.

The goats will be weighed upon arrival and every 4 weeks. They will be harvested to collect carcass data. Carcasses will be de-boned to determine the yield of boneless, fat-free meat. In addition to recognizing the goat with the best carcass, calculations will be made to determine the goat(s) with the best lean growth (per day of test and per day of age), value, and return ($).

Performance & Carcass Contest Procedures

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Changes for 2016

For 2016, a few changes will be made to the Western Maryland Pasture-Based Meat Goat Performance Test.

Any goat with a FAMACHA© score of 3 that loses weight (> 0.1 lb.) during the previous two week period will be dewormed. If the goat didn't lose weight, it may still be dewormed based on the Five Point Check© and other factors. In many countries, performance (a.k.a. the "Happy Factor") is used as the main criteria for making deworming decisions.

FAMACHA© score 3
Lose weight = get dewormed

All of the goats will be weighed before FAMACHA©, body condition, coat condition, dag, and fecal consistency scores are determined. Eighty goats can be weighed rather quickly, whereas it takes several hours to score eighty goats. There is concern that some goats may be losing too much weight (feces + urine) while they are waiting to be worked.

The goats will be supplemented daily with whole barley instead of soyhull pellets. Barley is more economical and the research farm is willing to provide it for the test. There will also be less waste, as the soyhulls were quite powdery and often not totally consumed by the goats. Barley will be introduced slowly and gradually increased, based on appetite. Supplementation will not exceed 1 pound per head per day or approximately 2% of body weight (1 ÷ 50).

Goats will not leave the test site until all data has been received and evaluated.

Please contact Susan at sschoen@umd.edu or (301) 432-2767 x343, if you have suggestions for the test.

2016 Schedule

The 2016 Western Maryland Pasture-Based Meat Goat Performance Test will follow a similar schedule as last year. The test will have a 13-day adjustment period, followed by an 84-day test. The first half of the test will serve as a "growth challenge," whereas the second half of the test will serve as a "parasite challenge."

The nomination period for the 2016 test is April 15 through June 1. All nominations received by the deadline will be treated equally. If nominations exceed test capacity (approximately 90 goats), preference will be given to Maryland residents and previous consignors.

Munching on millet in last year's test

Nomination packets will be mailed to 2014 and 2015 consignors during the first week of April. Additional packets may be requested from Pam Thomas at (301) 432-2767 x343 or pthomas@umd.edu. All documents in the nomination packet may also be obtained from this blog (right hand column).

Goats must be delivered to the test site on Friday, June 24, 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. Earlier deliveries are possible, if  arrangements are made ahead of time. Starting weights will be determined on July 7-8. The goats will be handled every two weeks (on Thursdays) to determine body weights, FAMACHA©, body condition, coat condition, dag, and fecal consistency scores. Fecal samples will be collected bi-weekly to determine fecal egg counts (FECs). Pooled samples will be collected periodically to determine parasite burden and diet quality.

Final weights will be determined on September 29-30. At the conclusion of the test, goats must be picked up. There will be no sale associated with the test. All goats, including the ten top-performing goats may be sold via private treaty or returned to their respective farms for breeding.

Congregating in the central lane-way.

It is suggested that some of the top-performing bucks be sold (as yearlings) at the Bluegrass Performance Invitational in Frankfort, Kentucky. Arrangements can also be made to sell the goats locally (to a sale barn or for finishing). The goats will not be sold until all data has been analyzed and the ten top-performing goats have been selected.

April 15-June 1 - nomination period
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June 24 - goats delivered to test site
July 7 (day 0) - starting weights determined
July 8 - re-weigh goats to determine starting weights
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July 21 (day 14)
August 3 (day 28)
August 18 (day 42)
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September 1 (day 56)
September 15 (day 70)
September 29 (day 84)
September 30 - re-weigh goats to determine ending weights
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September 9 - pick up goats

Towards the end of the test, the goats will be scanned to determine carcass muscling (rib eye area). They will also be evaluated for structural correctness (feet, legs, hooves, mouths) and reproductive soundness (teats, testicles).

The top-ten bucks will be selected primarily on the basis of growth (average daily gain), parasite resistance (fecal egg counts), and parasite resilience (FAMACHA© scores and anthelmintic treatments). Awards will be given to the top-performing buck, as well as the top consignor (based on performance of three bucks). Five and ten year consignors are recognized.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Top Ten Bucks

The top-10 bucks in this year's Western Maryland Pasture-Based Meat Goat Performance Test have been selected. The primary criteria for determining the top-10 was growth rate (ADG), parasite resistance (fecal egg counts), and parasite resilience (FAMACHA© scores and treatment).

Other factors which were considered included birth type/type of rearing, weight per day of age (WDA), first and second half ADG, rib eye area (REA), USDA grade, and scrotal circumference (SC).

You can't tell who the best bucks are by looking.

The top-performing buck in this year's test was 539, a commercial Kiko consigned by Jodie & Randy Majancsik from Kentucky. The Majancsiks also had last year's top performing buck with another commercial Kiko. In 2014, the Majancsiks tied Brent Ballenger for top consignor. They were also in contention for this year's top consignor award.

The rest of the top 10 bucks (in no particular order) were 501 (Craig Adams, IL), 505 (Brent Ballenger, KY), 527 (Jarred Dennison, KY), 543 (Steve Maynard & Darla Dishman, TN), 550 (P.J. Murphy, NJ), 551 (Waldo Nelson, MD), 556 & 557 (David Peters, NC), & 584 (John Weber, IL). All  consignors with top-10 bucks have had top-performers in previous tests, with the exception of Maynard/Dishman, who are first time consignors.

David Peters has two bucks in the top 10. He is this year's top consignor, an award given to the consignor with the three best bucks in the test. David had the most resistant buck in this year's test. 557 had an averaged fecal egg count of 217 epg and never had an egg count above 500 epg. David had a top-performing buck in last year's test.

Click on table for a larger view in another window.

The only other buck that met the traditional Gold standards for parasite resistance was 505, consigned by Brent Ballenger. 505's average egg was 432 epg. It never had an egg count above 1000 epg. The average egg count of the top 10 bucks was 630 epg.

The most resilient buck in the test was 550, consigned by P.J. Murphy. Each time he was scored, 550 had a FAMACHA© score of 1. The average FAMACHA© score of the top 10 bucks over the duration of the test was 1.7. None of the goats in the top-10 required deworming.

It is suggested that this year's top 10 bucks be retained for breeding and/or sold (as yearlings) at next year's Bluegrass Performance Invitational or a similar performance-based sale.

 Download all summary data from top 10 bucks

Special thanks to Dr. Dahlia O'Brien at Virginia State University for doing fecal egg counts and larva ID for the Western Maryland Pasture-Based Meat Goat Performance Test. 

NKR Supports Buck Test

The National Kiko Registry (NKR) would like to congratulate all the participants in this year’s Western Maryland Pasture-Based Buck Performance Test. Remember that performance data can be added at any time to your NKR certificate of registration.

Just send us an official announcement of the performance status, along with your original certificate, and we will add it at no cost. Performance testing plays an important role in the Kiko industry and NKR wants you and your goats to get the recognition you deserve.

The list of Kiko breeders who choose the National Kiko Registry as their registry of choice continues to grow each month with nearly 500 clients to date!  No other registry serves as many breeders, DNAs more goats, or registers more Kikos than the National Kiko Registry.

Support performance testing

Nor does any other organization representing any breed of goat offer more educational opportunities to the meat goat industry - and we do this free of charge, investing our profits in facilities, travel and lodging for speakers, goat meat meals, promotional DVDs, brochures, advertising incentives to private sales, and more!

Ninety-five percent of the goats sold at the Southeast Kiko Goat Association sale were registered with NKR, and 100% of goats sold at the Spotlight Kiko Sale, Oklahoma Hills sale, Appalachian Kiko sale and Cream of the Crop sale are registered with the NKR.

NKR representatives attended nearly a dozen meat goat functions this year promoting the Kiko goat and NKR breeders, and the NKR partners with the Southeast Kiko Goat Association each fall to promote Kiko goats at the Sunbelt Expo, one of the largest ag expositions in the nation.  In the December issue of GoatRancher, the NKR will purchase 6 full pages to promote the Kiko and publish the NKR Breeders List.

Professional management, great customer service and the best group of Kiko breeders in the world make NKR the No. 1goat registry anywhere. To learn more about NKR, scroll through our Facebook page, visit www.nationalkikoregistry.com, or call or e-mail the contacts listed on our website. If you have questions, we have answers! The NKR management is thankful for the support so many breeders have shown.

Information provided by Terry Hankins


Editor's note:  The Western Maryland Pasture-Based Meat Goat Performance Test does not endorse any meat goat registry. In fact, registration is not a requirement of the test. The test is open to any breed or cross of goat, with or without registration status or eligibility. The test appreciates the support of goat breed associations and registries and believes that all groups should be united in their support of performance testing.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Predominantly Haemonchus Contortus

The fecal egg count of the pooled sample collected on October 1 (the last day of the test) was 5,025 epg. This was similar to the average of the individual fecal egg counts, especially if the unusually high egg count (of 59,350) is removed from the data set.

The October 1 fecal sample was composted of 75 percent Haemonchus, 16% Trichostrongylus/Teladorsagia mix, and 9% others. Haemonchus, better known as the barber pole worm, is a blood-sucking parasite that causes anemia and bottle jaw.  It can also cause sudden death. Chronic haemonchosis can cause loss of weight and body condition.

Trichostrongylus and Teladorsagia are often called "scour" or "bankrupt" worms. Scour worms --  because they cause ill thrift, weight loss, and scours (diarrhea). Bankrupt worms -- because they cause productivity losses, which generally affects the bottom line.

Click on graph to view in a new, larger window.

Most small ruminants have mixed parasitic infections. Strongyle-type (roundworm) eggs must be hatched in order to identify the species from the larvae. High fecal egg counts are usually indicative of a significant barber pole worm infection, as the female barber pole worm is a very prolific egg layer compared to the female worms of other species.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Summary of Parasite Resistance

For this year's Western Maryland Pasture-Based Meat Goat Performance Test, the fecal egg count data has been summarized.

Fecal samples were collected every two weeks from the bucks. The samples were collected and shipped on ice via FedEx (overnite) to Virginia State University. Dr. Dahlia O'Brien's lab did the fecal analysis. Her lab also did the fecal coprocultures (larvae ID). The last larvae ID is pending. The first pooled sample was 70% Haemonchus, while the second one was 90% Haemonchus.

Upon arrival, fecal egg counts ranged from 0 to 11,900 epg and averaged 2140 + 2530 epg. This was considerably higher than last year. The sequential deworming reduced egg counts in most goats, but was not effective in all. Some producers need to be concerned about multiple anthelmintic resistance in their herds. The median fecal egg count reduction was 96 percent.

Click on graph to view larger image in a new window.

Fecal egg counts remained low for the four weeks following treatment. Egg counts began increasing at d-28 (41 days after treatment). While fecal egg counts often increase towards the end of the test, this year’s egg counts were the highest ever recorded in the test, even if the unusually high fecal egg count (of 59,350 per gram) is removed from the data set. The high egg counts and lack of clinical parasitism cannot be completely explained. The supplemental feeding of soy hulls most likely improved resilience.

The first two fecal egg counts are excluded from the data set. The first egg count is most likely a result of past management and environmental conditions. A goat should not be penalized for coming from an environment in which the parasite challenge was greater, as would be expected in the more southern states. Nor should a goat that has been dewormed (already) be given an advantage. The purpose of the test is to identify genetic differences, not to reward goats that come from more favorable production environments.

Three of David Peters's bucks had good fecal egg count data.

The second egg count is excluded from the data set because it is the result of the sequential deworming. Most of the second egg counts were very low. A goat should not be penalized for coming from an environment in which the dewormers are no longer (very) effective, though this may limit the ability to effectively treat him, if he becomes paratized during the test. All fecal egg count data that follows a deworming (two weeks prior) is excluded from the data set. In the printouts, these values crossed out.

As previously mentioned, it is not possible to obtain a sufficient fecal sample (2-4 g) from all goats each time (despite multiple attempts). Unfortunately, there is no "fair" way to deal with this problem. A goat should not be given an advantage because he has less data to evaluate. Most of goats in the test had six samples in which to evaluate. For the purpose of selecting the top-10 bucks, only one missing data point (sample) will be permitted.

Download Fecal Egg Count Summary
Download Fecal Egg Count Rankings