Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Kiko Performance Invitational (KPI)

The Western Maryland Pasture-Based Meat Goat Performance Test would like to offer a new program to consigners, called the Kiko Performance Initiative (KPI). The purpose of KPI is to get a core group of Kiko breeders to enroll in NSIP/KidPlan to get the meat goat industry started in quantitative genetic evaluation and establish the Kiko breed as the leader in this regard.

I (Susan Schoenian) would like to offer the program to previous consigners to the Maryland test, as well as those who have purchased top-performing bucks, as it is you who have already demonstrated a commitment to performance evaluation.

Requirements
In order to enroll in KPI (NSIP/KidPlan), you should have at least 30 does. Herds should be purebred or high percentage Kiko (or other breed). Producers who raise crossbred animals can "participate" by purchasing breeding stock from NSIP-enrolled herds.  Participation is possible with smaller herds, with sufficiently high kidding percentages (see table).

# does
% kid crop
# kids
Buck A
Buck B
20
200
20
20
25
160
20
20
30
133
20
20
40
100
20
20

Kidding percentage is the number of kids sold (or retained) divided by the number of does exposed for breeding. There is a basic need of 15 kids per contemporary group (per sire). Twenty (20) is preferred. A contemporary group is a group of kids, with similar birth dates (range) that have been managed the same.

Breeding strategies
Producers should use at least two bucks for breeding. NSIP/KidPlan works best if participating herds "share" genetics, meaning the same buck (or his semen) is used in different herds, ideally with different production practices and different climates. Using sons of the same sire for breeding will also create some genetic linkages, though not as close.

Genetic linkages are necessary to get across-herd EBVs. Across-herd EBVs allow comparison of animals on different farms. Without genetic linkages, EBVs can still be calculated for use in within-herd comparisons.

It is important to understand that EBVs are about the differences in performance not the absolute values. If a buck has a heavy weaning weight, it doesn't mean he'll have a high EBV for weaning weight. His heavy weaning weight could be the result of favorable environmental conditions (e.g. mature dam, single birth, creep-fed). EBVs "tease out" the environmental effects to get genetic predictions of performance.

Data
The data required for NSIP/KidPlan is data most producers are already collecting. The data collected on the farm is entered into a program (online) called Pedigree Master. Australia's KidPlan calculates the EBVs. My goal is to find, adapt, or develop an app that will make data recording easier and allow automatic upload to NSIP/KidPlan. Electronic ID (EID, RFID) would also facilitate data recording. In the meantime, I (Susan) am willing to enter the data into Pedigree Master and serve as the coordinator for KPI.

 Required data  Optional data
 Sire and dam
 Sex
 Date of birth
 Birth weight*
 Type of birth and rearing
 Weaning weight
 Post-weaning weight
 Fecal egg counts
 Scrotal circumference
 Carcass data
 Other weights
*  can use standard birth weight

Costs
Obviously, there are costs associated with NSIP/KidPlan.  There is an annual enrollment fee:  $100 plus a per doe charge of  $2.50. The first year enrollment fee is waived. It is also waived for youth (younger than 22, up to 3 years). The database fee is dependent upon the number of kids entered. It is $3 per kid. Up to 25% of the kid crop can be designated as commercial or cull, in which case no data base fees are charged. Database fees cover the lifetime of the animal. Entering historical data (recommended) will increase first year cost; however, only the two most recent kid crops are billable.

Member
Annual enrollment fees
Database fee
Enrollment
Per female
Per kid
Regular
$100
$2.50
$3.00
First year
Waived
$3.00
Youth
Waived
$3.00

The maximum annual enrollment fee is $400. There is a cost of $25 for each additional herd. The cost of participating in NSIP/KidPlan is less than the cost of participating in buck tests. And the data is more meaningful. Let me know if KPI interests you.  sschoen@umd.edu   Or call me.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

EBVs: The Next Step

For the past 11 years, the Western Maryland Pasture-Based Meat Goat Performance Test has evaluated meat goat bucklings, mostly Kiko and Kiko crosses, for growth (on pasture), parasite resistance (fecal egg counts), parasite resilience, and various other traits. Buck tests are a good start to genetic improvement, but it is time for the meat goat industry to move onto EBVs.

EBV stands for estimated breeding value. An EBV is an estimate of an animal’s genetic merit for a specific trait. EBVs can be calculated for any trait that can be measured, including number of kids born, number of kids weaned, weaning weight, post-weaning weight, loin depth, and parasite resistance.  Indexes are often created to aid in selection decisions. They can be tailored to specific breeds or goals. For those familiar with EPDs (for cattle), an EPD is half the numeric value of an EBV.

EBVs can measure maternal traits: buck tests cannot.

EBVs are far more accurate than the (raw) data collected in a buck test because they factor in data from an animal’s relatives (sire, dam, siblings, even distant cousins), as well as other traits. In the calculation of EBVs, genetic correlations and heritabilities are also considered. Because the performance of crossbred animals is influenced by hybrid vigor (heterosis),  EBVs can only be calculated for purebreds or animals containing a high percentage of a single breed. This may eventually change. It is in cattle. To be truthful, it was not fair to compare the performance of purebred bucks in the Maryland test with crossbred bucks.

Other countries and animal industries have been using EBVs for many years, with well-documented successes.The National Sheep Improvement Program (NSIP) calculates EBVs for sheep and meat goat producers in the US. Data is processed by Sheep Genetics of Australia, which has both a LambPlan and KidPlan.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Combination Treatments Recommended

The American Consortium for Small Ruminant Parasite Control (ACSRPC) via an article by Dr. Ray Kaplan (University of Georgia) is now recommending combination treatments when deworming sheep and goats. Combination treatments involve giving dewormers from different dewormer groups to the same animal in a close time span.

In the US, there are only four groups of dewormers: 1) benzimidazoles (SafeGuard® and Valbazen®); 2) avermectins (Ivomec®, Dectomax®, and Eprinex®); 3) moxidectin (Cydectin®); and 4) levamisole (Prohibit®, LevaMed®). An example of a combination treatment would be Valbazen® + Cydectin® + Prohibit®.

The goal of a combination treatment is to increase the efficacy of deworming and slow the development of resistant worms. In New Zealand, it has been demonstrated that when combination treatments are used with “parasite best management practices,” there may be a reversion (of the drugs) back to susceptibility.

In other countries, there are dewormer products that contain multiple drug actives. In the US, combination dewormer products are not commercially available or FDA-approved. Thus, each dewormer will need to be purchased and administered separately. The dewormers can be given one after another, but should not be given in the same syringe. Mixing dewormers may not be safe or effective. It is not legal. It should not be done.

In Dr. Kaplan’s article, he recommends that all dewormers be given at the full recommended dose. The withdrawal period for the dewormer with the longest withdrawal period should be followed. For sheep and goat dewormers, this is usually Cydectin®.

It is essential that combination treatments not be given to all sheep and goats on the farm or in the same management group. Only those requiring deworming, based on FAMACHA© scores and/or the Five Point Check® should be dewormed. If refugia is not maintained, soon all deworming will fail and animals will die needlessly. Refugia are worms that have not been exposed to the dewormer(s); thus, remain susceptible to treatment.

To learn more about using combination treatments to deworm sheep and goats, be sure to read Dr. Kaplan’s article at www.wormx.info/combinations. Be sure to follow the advice of your veterinarian if your use of dewormers (or any animal health product) falls under extra-label drug law.

For sheep producers, there is an FDA-approved dewormer in each group. However, this is not the case for goats. Thus, it’s required that goat producers consult with a veterinarian before giving combination treatments. Only a veterinarian is legally allowed to use or prescribe drugs extra-label. The extra-label drug law requires a valid veterinarian-patient-client relationship.

Note:  Combination treatments were used in the Western Maryland Pasture-Based  Meat Goat Performance Test for many years. The three drugs (Valbazen® + Cydectin® + Prohibit®) were given sequentially in different syringes to each buck, upon arrival to the test site.

Friday, October 28, 2016

Goat Test Featured in Newsletter

The Western Maryland Pasture-Based Meat Goat Performance Test is featured in the Fall 2016 issue of Wild & Woolly. Wild & Woolly is a quarterly newsletter for sheep and goat producers and anyone else interested in small ruminants. The newsletter is published by University of Maryland Extension.


The newsletter is available as a HTML or PDF file. It is also published on ISSUU. Mailed copies of the newsletter are available for a cost recovery fee of $10 per year, payable to the University of Maryland. Interested persons can subscribe to the newsletter listserv to receive an e-mail message when a new issue of the newsletter has been published. To subscribe, send an e-mail to listserv@listserv.umd.edu. In the body of the message, write:  subscribe sheepandgoatnews.

Fall 2016 - HTML
Fall 2016 - PDF
Fall 2016 - ISSUU
Previous issues

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Recap of 2016 Test

You can read a recap of this year's Western Maryland Pasture-Based Meat Goat Performance Test at http://www.sheepandgoat.com/recap2016test.

Congratulations to consigners of  top bucks:
Top-performing - John Weber (IL)
Top consignment - Jarred Dennison (KY)
Top-gaining - Jarred Dennison
Most resistant - David Peters (NC)
Most resilient - John Weber and P.J. Murphy (NJ)

Jarred Dennison had two top-10 bucks
photo courtesy of Jarred Dennison

Congratulations to consigners of top-10 bucks:
John Weber
Steven Yutzy (OH)
David Peters
P.J. Murphy
Thomas Davis (MO)
Richard Gamby (OH)
Angie Loos (IL)
Patricia Larr (IN)
Jarred Dennison

P.J. Murphy and Jarred Dennison each had two bucks in the top-10.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Performance & Carcass Contest Recap

You can read a recap of the Performance & Carcass Contest at http://www.sheepandgoat.com/2016carcasscontest.

Early in the feeding period
#4 (Res. Ch) and #10 (wether)

Congratulations to the winners:
Grand Champion:  Angie Loos (Illinois)
Reserve Champion:  Richard Gamby (Ohio)
3rd place:  William Winingear & Brittany White (Missouri)
4th place:  John Smith (Virginia)
5th place:  Patricia Larr (Indiana)