Friday, July 22, 2016

Day 14

For the first 14 days of the test, gains were moderate. Gain ranged from -3.9 to 6.8 lbs. and averaged 2.1 ± 2.2 lbs. The large standard deviation indicates that there was a wide variation in gain. The median gain was 2.3 lbs.

Average daily gain (ADG) ranged from -0.279 to 0.486 lbs. per day and averaged 0.149 ± 0.155 lbs. per day. The median ADG was 0.161 lbs. per day. For the first 14 days of the test, the top gaining buck was #639 (Loos, IL). Other goats that gained 6 lbs. or more included #618 (Dennison, KY), #650 (Murphy, NJ), #689 (Whelan, KY), and #698 (Yutzy, OH).

Three white billies

FAMACHA© scores increased slightly. They ranged from 1 to 4 and averaged 1.84 ± 0.7.  Nine goats were dewormed (with levamisole concentrated drench @ 3 ml/50 lbs.). One had a FAMACHA© score of 4. The others had FAMACHA© scores of 3, but lost weight during the first two weeks of the test. 

The new deworming protocol is to deworm goats with FAMACHA© scores of 3 that lose weight (> 0.1 lbs). The new protocol will result in more goats being dewormed and (hopefully) a reduction in sub-clinical parasitism. Some of the goats that were dewormed also had increasing and high fecal egg counts on July 7. The sequential dosing was not effective among many goats and several consignments.

A buck from last year's top consigner
(David Peters, NC)

Body condition and coat condition scores remained relatively unchanged. Body condition scores ranged from 2 to 3 and averaged 2.24 ± 0.25. The median BCS was 2.3.  Coat condition scores ranged from 2 to 2.5 and averaged 2.05 ± 0.15. The median coat condition score was 2.  Only a couple of goats had positive dag scores. The median dag score was 0 (no fecal soiling). Compared to two weeks ago, feces were softer. Fecal consistency scores ranged from 1 to 3 and averaged 1.39 ± 0.59.  The median fecal consistency score was 1.38 (1=pellets, 4=liquid). 

All the goats were weighed, then run through the handling system a second time for scoring and collection of fecal samples. Fecal samples could not be obtained from four goats. Two attempts are made to obtain a fecal sample from a goat. A pooled fecal sample will be collected in two weeks. It will be submitted to the University of Georgia for a DrenchRite® test.

Chowing down on barley

While rainfall has been minimal in recent weeks, forage conditions are good. There is plenty of forage and plenty of good quality forage.  The goats are currently grazing a 2-acre paddock of warm season annuals (BMR pearl millet + Sunn hemp + cowpeas). The paddock that was grazed a few weeks ago is regrowing nicely. The goats also have access to the silvopasture, which offers natural shading. The weather is expected to be very hot over the next few days.


The goats are currently consuming about 0.6 lb. of barley per head per day. In the coming week, the supplementation will be increased to 0.75 lb. per head per day. Free choice minerals are also available, via three mineral feeders in the central laneway.  The goats will be worked next on Wednesday, August 3, a day earlier due to a scheduling conflict. 

Download July 21 (d 14) report 

Fecal Egg Count Reduction

Fecal egg counts from June 23-24 ranged from 0 to 21550 epg and averaged 1207 ± 3201 epg. The large standard deviation (almost 3x the mean) indicates there was tremendous variation in the fecal egg count data among the 96 goats that started the test.

The median egg count was only 100 epg, as most of the goats had very low initial egg counts.  In fact, only 17 goats had fecal egg counts >1000 epg. 2000 epg is considered to be of "clinical significance" for the barber pole worm. It is usually the cut-off for top-performing bucks in the test.


Fecal egg counts from July 7 ranged from 0 to 8550 and averaged 776 ± 1340 epg.  While the standard deviation wasn't as large as it was on June 23-24, it was still quite large (2x the mean), indicative of a similar wide variation in egg counts. Similar to June 23-24, the median egg count was only 129 epg on July 8, with only twenty-three goats having egg counts >1000 epg.

Upon arrival, the goats were sequentially dewormed with albendazole (Valbazen®), moxidectin (Cydectin®), and levamisole (Prohibit®). The purpose of the sequential dosing was to reduce fecal egg counts to (near) zero, so that all goats started the test equally and that differences observed in the test can be attributed to genetics and not environment. In recent years, the sequential dosing has become less effective at zeroing out egg counts.

The effectiveness of an anthelmintic treatment is determined by the fecal egg count reduction (FECR) test. Pre- and post treatments are compared. FECR = [FEC1 (pre-treatment) - FEC2 (post-treatment)] ÷ FEC1 (pre-treatment) x 100.  An effective treatment should reduce fecal egg counts by 95 percent or more.  Below 80%, there is significant anthelmintic resistance.

FECR varied significantly among goats and consignments. Treatment was quite effective on some goats and in some consignments. In other goats and consignments, it was ineffective, as fecal egg counts increased substantially (in some goats) or failed to be reduced significantly after treatment (in others). The average FECR for the 96 goats in the test is not meaningful, as it is skewed by some very large increases in fecal egg count.

Treatment seemed to be most effective in goats that had high egg counts. Of the seventeen goats that had initial fecal egg counts >1000 epg, the average FECR was 86%. It increases to 91% if the least effective treatment (1% FECR) is removed from the data set.

% FECR FOR GOATS WITH FEC >1000 EPG
  ID    Pre-treatment FEC     Post-treatment FEC    % FECR 
608 13550 100 99
609 3633 485 87
610 2457 400 84
612 3500 150 96
619 1875 433 77
626 5925 0 100
627 2825 0 100
629 1533 300 80
630 4525 900 80
635 1600 33 98
645 4300 267 94
655 3475 3450 1
686 4857 1533 68
691 14425 200 99
696 3475 125 96
697 21550 120 99
698 1050 0 100

FECR could not be calculated if a goat was missing a fecal sample from either June 23-24 or July 7 or if its fecal egg count on June 23-24 was 0.  A pre-treatment fecal egg count <150-200 epg is not considered very accurate for FECR. In fact, some parasitologists prefer egg counts >350 epg for FECR calculations.

 Of concern is the consignments in which egg counts increased significantly or failed to be reduced significantly by the sequential dosing. This suggests resistance to all anthelmintics on those farms.

Download Fecal Egg Count Reduction Report

Monday, July 18, 2016

70 Percent Haemonchus

A pooled fecal sample was collected from the goats on June 23-24. Efforts were made to include samples from different consignments. The sample was submitted to Virginia State University for analysis.

The eggs in the pooled sample were allowed to hatch, so that the species of worm could be identified from the larvae. It is not possible to differentiate the eggs of most strongyle-type worms.

Strongyle-type eggs (L) and larvae (R)

The pooled sample contained 70 percent Haemonchus contortus, better known as the barber pole worm. Eighteen (18) percent of the larvae were Trichostrongyles or Teladorsagia, better known as "bankrupt worms."  The other 12 percent were classified as other, including Oesophagostomum (nodule worm).

The fecal egg count of the pooled sample was 2675 epg. This is considerably higher than the average of the individual samples collected on June 23-24, which was 1207 ± 3201 epg, with a median of only 100 epg.

The  next pooled sample will be collected on August 3. It will be submitted to the University of Georgia for a DrenchRite® test. In addition to fecal egg count and larvae ID, the DrenchRite® test determines resistance to all anthelmintics (dewormers) simultaneously.

Detailed Buck Report

Ninety-six (96) bucks started the Western Maryland Pasture-Based Meat Goat Performance Test on July 8. Ninety-four (94) of the bucks are Kiko. There are two crossbreds in the test. Starting weights ranged from 32.4 to 78.8 lbs. and averaged 49.6 ± 8.9 lbs. The median weight was 48.5 lbs.

At the start of the test, age ranged from 95 to 174 days and averaged 131.7 ± 22.9 days. The median age was 133.5 days, with an average birth date of February 10. The oldest buck in the test was born on January 1 and the youngest buck was born on March 20.

Birth type ranged from 1 (single) to 3 (triplet) and averaged 2.1 ± 0.4. The median birth type was 2 (twin). Type of rearing ranged from 1 to 3 and averaged 2.0 ± 0.4. The median type of rearing was 2 (twin). Birth weights ranged from 4.5 to 10.5 lbs. and averaged 7.1 ± 1.2 lbs. The median birth weight was 7.0 lbs. Birth weights were not adjusted.

98% of the bucks in test are Kiko.

Age at weaning ranged from 65 to 160 days and averaged 92 ± 15.4 days. April 2 was the earliest date any bucks were weaned. June 16 was the latest.  The average weaning date was May 14. The median was May 17. Weaning weights ranged from 28.2 to 65.0 lbs. and averaged 42.1 ± 7.4 lbs. The median weaning weight was 40.8 lbs.

All weaning weights were corrected to 90 days. Corrected 90-day weaning weights ranged from 25.3 to 59.5 lbs.and averaged 41.7 ± 7.6 lbs. The  median corrected 90-day weaning weight was 41.3 lbs. 

90-day (corrected) weaning weights were adjusted for sex, type of birth and rearing, and age of dam. Age of dam ranged from 1 (yearling) to 11 and averaged 4.2 ± 1.8 years. The median age of dam was 4.  The adjustment factor for sex was 0.9, as a buck is expected to grow faster than a doe (1.0) and a wether (0.97).

Adjusted 90-day weaning weights ranged from  26.9 to 63.2 lbs. and averaged 44.3 ± 7.7 lbs. The adjustment factors are from Texas A&M University (via IKGA).

The dams from 70 percent of the bucks in the test were supplemented with grain during lactation. Thirty percent of the bucks are from pasture-only enterprises. Ten percent of the bucks in the test were creep fed.


601's WDA was 0.505 on July 8.

Weight per day of age (WDA) was calculated for each buck in the test. WDA ranged from 0.186 to 0.574 lbs. per day and averaged 0.386 ± 0.083 lbs. per day.

Information contained in the detailed buck report is for informational purposes ONLY. The data from one buck cannot be compared to the data from another buck, as the environmental influences are not accounted for. The data from bucks in the same consignment can be compared, so long as those bucks are from the same contemporary group (fed, managed the same).

The purpose of the Western Maryland Pasture-Based Meat Goat Performance Test (and other central performance tests) is to remove all environmental influences by managing all bucks in the same manner. This way, the differences observed (measured) in the test can be attributed to genetics.

The 96 bucks in the Western Maryland Pasture-Based Meat Goat Performance Test are a contemporary group. Bucks on different farms are not.

Download Detailed Buck Report

Monday, July 11, 2016

Twilight Tour & Tasting

The Goat Test and Carcass Contest were featured at the Twilight Tour & Tasting held July 8 at the Washington County Agricultural Education Center.

The tasting part of the event featured seven chef-prepared dishes, made from lamb and chevon (goat meat) and sheep milk cheese. Small ruminant dairies had cheese for participants to sample and/or purchase. There was also an exhibit of small ruminant fibers and wine tasting.

The tour part included wagon tours to the Western Maryland Research & Education Center. Tour stops included the Western Maryland Pasture-Based Meat Goat Performance Test and Goat Performance & Carcass Contest.

Friday, July 8, 2016

Start of Contest

There are fifteen (15) goats in the Performance & Carcass Contest. Starting weights were determined on July 7-8.   On July 7, weights ranged from 34 to 71 lbs. and averaged 53.5 ± 10.8 lbs. The median weight was 54.0 lbs. On July 8, weights ranged from 34 to 70 lbs. and averaged 53.9 ± 10.6 lbs. The median weight was 55.0 lbs.

Starting weights were determined by averaging the two weights. Starting weights ranged from 34.0 to 70.5 lbs. and averaged 53.9 ± 10.6 lbs. During the adjustment period, the goats gained an average of 6.9 ± 2.8 lbs. Gain ranged from 2.0 to 12.7 lbs. No goat lost weight during the adjustment period. ADG ranged from 0.143 to 0.907 lbs. per day and averaged 0.499 ± 0.206 lbs. 

Data from the adjustment period is provided for informational purposes only. It does not factor into the contest. The contest goats are being weighed on a different scale (a traditional box scale) than the test goats.  The only data being collected is weight data. Carcass data will be collected at the time of harvest.

The contest goats are consuming a hay-grain diet.

Download July 7-8 (day 0) report

Start of Test

Starting weights were determined on July 7 and 8. On July 7, weights ranged from 31.8 to 78.6 lbs. and averaged 49.2 ± 8.7 lbs. The median weight was 48.2 lbs. On July 8, weights ranged from 33.0 to 79.0 lbs. and averaged 50.0 ± 9.0 lbs. The median weight was 49.0 lbs. Starting weights were determined by averaging the weights from both day.

Starting (on-test) weights ranged from 32.4 to 78.8 lbs. and averaged 49.6 ± 8.9 lbs. The median starting weight was 48.5 lbs. During the adjustment period, gain (or loss) ranged from -8.3 to 9.7 lbs. and averaged 2.2 ± 3.4 lbs. The  median gain was 2.5 lbs. Average daily gain (ADG) period ranged from -0.593 to 0.693 lbs. per day and averaged 0.156 ± 0.244 lbs. per day. The median ADG was 0.179 lbs. per day.  The adjustment period data is provided for information purposes only and does not factor into the test.


FAMACHA©

From the standpoint of FAMACHA© scores, the sequential dosing with albendazole (Valbazen® @ 2 ml/25 lbs), moxidectin (Cydectin® @ 4.5 ml/25 lbs) and levamisole (Prohibit® @ 3 ml/50 lbs) seems to have been effective, at least from a clinical perspective.  FAMACHA© scores ranged from 1 to 3 and averaged 1.7 ± 0.6. The median FAMACHA© score was 2.

Upon arrival, FAMACHA© scores ranged from 1 to 5 and averaged 1.9 ± 0.8. On July 7, one goat was dewormed in accordance with the new protocol. It had a FAMACHA© score of 3 and lost weight during the previous two weeks.  All goats with FAMACHA© scores of 3 will be dewormed if they lose more than 0.1 lbs. during the previous two weeks. They will also be dewormed if they have poor body condition, scours, rough  hair coat, high fecal egg count (two weeks prior), and declining scores, especially FAMACHA©. If more than 10 percent of goats have FAMACHA© scores of 4 or 5, all goats with FAMACHA© scores of 3 will be dewormed.


Other scores

Body condition scores remained unchanged, ranging from 1.5 to 3.0 and averaging 2.2 ± 0.3. The median BCS was 2.1. Coat condition scores remained unchanged, ranging from 1.5 to 2.5 and averaging 2.1 ± 0.2. The median coat condition scores was 2. Dag scores and fecal consistency scores were unchanged, as only a few goats showed evidence of diarrhea (scours).  The median dag score was 0 (no soiling). The median fecal consistency score was 1 (normal fecal pellets).

Fecal egg counts
Fecal samples were collected from the goats on June 23 and 24. Fecal egg counts ranged from 0 to 21550 eggs per gram (EPG) of feces. The average egg count was 1207 ± 3201 epg.  The standard deviation (STD) was more than twice the mean (AVG), indicating a wide variation in egg count data. The median fecal egg count was only 100 epg. Few goats had high egg counts. The pooled sample is still being analyzed for larvae identification.


The bucks are now grazing the summer annual mix of BMR pearl millet, Sunn hemp, cow peas, brassicas, and chicory. They still have access to the silvopasture, as it offers a cooler place for grazing. It also contains some browse, which the goats relish.

The next work day is July 21 (day 14).

Download July 7-8 (Day 0) Report