Thursday, April 17, 2014

Nomination Period Open

The nomination period for the 2014 Western Maryland Pasture-Based Meat Goat Performance Test is open. The deadline to receive nominations is May 15. All nominations received by the deadline will be treated equally. If nominations exceed test capacity, preference will be given to previous consignors and Maryland residents. So far, 15 goats have been nominated by three previous consignors.

Goats at beginning of test (2012).

The test is open to any goat breeder from any state with any breed of goat. Eligible male goats must have been born between December 15, 2013, and March 15, 2014, and weigh between 35 and 70 lbs. upon delivery to the test site on Friday, May 30. All goats must be delivered to the test site on May 30 between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m., unless prior permission has been obtained for earlier delivery. No goats will be accepted after May 30.

The goats most likely to perform well in the test are those that have not been fed for maximum gain and those that have had previous exposure to gastro-intestinal parasites (especially Haemonchus contortus). Deworming suppresses the animal's natural ability to develop immunity to parasites.

Consignors are encouraged to select goats that are in the mid-range of the age and weight requirements. A minimum consignment of three goats is suggested. Up to 5 goats will be accepted per consignor, pending the total number of consignments received. It is not necessary to designate specific goats at the time of nomination.

Cool season grass paddock (2012).

Upon arrival to the test site, the goats will stand in a footbath containing zinc sulfate. Hooves should be properly trimmed to allow the solution to penetrate the entire hoof. Each goat will be dewormed with anthelmintics from each drug class:  moxidectin (Cydectin®), albendazole (Valbazen®), and levamisole (Prohibit®).

The water will be medicated with Di-Methox® for the first five days, as a preventative for coccidiosis. Fecal samples will be collected to determine initial fecal egg counts and dewormer effectiveness. The triple dosing is expected to reduce fecal egg counts to (near) zero. Other performance tests eliminate animals if fecal egg counts are not sufficiently reduced by initial treatments, as this is an indication of anthelmintic resistance.

After a short adjustment period, this year's test will be split into two phases. During the first 42 days of the test, the goats will face a "parasite-challenge." They will graze cool season grass paddocks that have been pre-contaminated by grazing sheep. The parasites carried by the sheep have been confirmed to be susceptible to moxidectin (Cydectin®) and levamisole (Prohibit®).

Annual grass pasture (2012).

During the second 42 days of the test, the goats will enter the "growth-challenge" phase. They will graze clean, tall, nutritious annual pastures. Fecal samples will be collected to determine the nutritive value of the diet the goats are consuming.

Gel caps containing 0.5 g of copper oxide wire particles (COWP) will be administered to the goats at the end of each challenge phase. COWPs have been shown to reduce parasite burdens in kids and lambs. Copper plays an important role in immunity.

Questions about this year's test should be directed to Susan Schoenian at (301) 432-2767 x343 or Nomination packets can be requested (by mail) by contacting Pam Thomas at x315 or

Monday, March 31, 2014

National Webinar Series: NSIP

The NSIP ReLaunch Committee will be holding a series of webinars in May and June to teach sheep and goat producers about the National Sheep Improvement Program (NSIP). NSIP is a quantitative genetic selection tool designed to help sheep and goat producers make good breeding decisions.

The webinars will be held on consecutive Thursday evenings from  May 1 until June 5. All webinars will begin at 8 p.m. EST and last for approximately 1 hour.
  • May 1
    How the sheep industry can benefit from NSIP
    Dr. Robert Banks, University of New England (Australia)
  • May 8
    How the goat industry can benefit from NSIP
    Dr. Ken Andries, Kentucky State University
  • May 15
    How, when, and what data to collect
    Cody Hiemke, Illinois Shropshire breeder
  • May 22
    Challenges of moving to a performance-based flock
    Bill Shultz, Ohio Suffolk breeder
  • May 29
    How to enter and submit data
    Dr. Chris Schauer, North Dakota State University
  • June 5
    How to use the data
    Producer panel
Anyone with a connection to the Internet may participate. High speed access is recommended. The webinars use Adobe Connect software.

The webinars will be hosted by University of Maryland Extension (Susan Schoenian). To register for one or more webinars, send an e-mail message to Registrants will receive log-in information via e-mail.

Download program flyer

Monday, March 24, 2014

2014 Deworming Protocol

Last year, there were some questions regarding the deworming of the test goats.  Here is the official deworming protocol for the 2014 test:
  • Upon arrival to test site, all goats will be dewormed with anthelmintics from each drug class: moxidectin (Cydectin®), albendazole (Valbazen®), and levamisole (Prohibit®). These initial dewormings are necessary (regardless of need) so that the goats all start the test (and worm challenge) equally.
  • During the test, goats that require deworming will be given moxidectin or levamisole. A DrenchRite® assay has confirmed the effectiveness of these two anthelmintics.

  • Goats with FAMACHA© scores of 1 or 2 will not be dewormed unless they have bottle jaw
  • All goats with FAMACHA© scores of 4 or 5 will be dewormed, regardless of other factors.
  • Goats with FAMACHA© scores of 3 will be dewormed if they have one or more of the following risk factors:
    1. Evidence of bottle jaw.
    2. More than 10 percent of goats have FAMACHA© scores of 4 or 5.
    3. Fecal egg count two weeks prior was >2000 epg.
    4. Weight loss during previous two week period.
    5. Evidence of active diarrhea (scours).
    6. Body condition score of less than 2.

  • Goats with FAMACHA© scores of 4 will be put in treatment pen for observation.
  • Goats with FAMACHA© scores of 5 will be put in treatment pen and be given supportive therapy
  • Goats with diarrhea will be treated.
  • All goats will be given 0.5 g of copper oxide wire particles on day 42 and 84.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Bluegrass Performance Invitational

The Gold, Silver, and Bronze-performing bucks from the 2014 Western Maryland Pasture-Based Meat Goat Performance Test will be sold at the Bluegrass Performance Invitational on Saturday, September 6 in Frankfort, Kentucky.

Also included in the sale will be approximately 65 does from the top performance-tested herds in the country.  Bucks and does will sell regardless of breed or registry affiliation. Consignors to the Maryland test are eligible to consign does to the sale. Requests for sale spaces will open March 15, 2014 and close May 15, 2014.

One of the top-performing and
selling bucks from 2013

The sale will be held at Lakeview Park. A block of 30 rooms has been reserved at the Best Western Parkside Inn in Frankfort, Kentucky until August 1. Mention the Bluegrass Performance Invitational to get the special rate of $76.49.

An educational program will precede the sale on Friday, September 5 and in the morning on the 6th.

For more information about the sale, contact Jarred Dennison at (502) 875-885 or Jarred@jdranch

Download sale rules
Download sale consignment sheet

Friday, March 14, 2014

Nomination Packets Mailed

Nomination packets for the 2014 Western  Maryland Pasture-Based Meat Goat Performance Test will be mailed today to all previous consignors (from 2012 and 2013). Packets can be mailed to other interested persons upon request. Contact Pam Thomas at or (301) 432-2767 ext. 315 to request a nomination packet.

Nomination packets contain the following documents:
  • 2014 letter to consignors
  • 2014 nomination form
  • 2014 Guidelines and Protocol
  • Sample Maryland CVI
  • Maryland Health Requirements
  • Maryland Animal Health Rejection Policy
  • Buck information sheets (n=5)
  • Kidding codes
  • Kidding data sheets (n=3)
Consignors should familiarize themselves with the 2014 Guidelines and Protocol. Several changes have been implemented for the 2014 test. 

The nomination form and nomination fee ($20/goat) are due May 15.  It is not necessary to identify specific bucks on the nomination form -- only the number of bucks consigned. Consignors need to sign the nomination form to release the University of Maryland from any liability.

The nomination period is April 1 through May 15. All nominations received by the deadline will be treated equally. If nominations exceed the carrying capacity of the test, preference will be given to Maryland residents and past consignors. Fifteen of the test slots will be utilized by the pasture group of goats in the pen vs. pasture study.

All bucks are required to health papers in order to be admitted to the test. A certificate of veterinary inspection (CVI) is required. Maryland residents require an intrastate CVI, whereas out-of-state consignors require an interstate CVI. Health papers should be brought with the goats to the test site on May 30.

Per the Maryland Department of Agriculture, consignors are also required to complete the Livestock Exhibitor's Self-Certification of Animal Health. This form is due the day the bucks are delivered to the test site.

A buck information sheet needs to fill out for each buck that is consigned to the test, e.g. five bucks, five forms. These forms are due the day the bucks are delivered to the test site.

2014 will be the 9th year of the test.

New for this year's test:  consignors are being asked to provide on-farm performance data for the kids born on their farm, at least those kids in the same contemporary (management) group as the consigned bucks. Kidding data sheets should be filled out and returned with the nomination form.The data will be processed by Dr. Ken Andries at Kentucky State University.

All of the documents contained in the nomination packet may also be downloaded from this blog. Scroll down the left hand column to find the links to the documents.

If you have questions about the test, be sure to contact Susan Schoenian at or (301) 432-2767 x343.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

West Virginia Buck Performance Test

West Virginia University conducts a ram and buck performance test at its Reymann Memorial Farm near Wardensville. Up to 60 rams and 30 bucks will be accepted for the 2014 test.

Bucks of any breed are eligible for the program. Bucks from recognized breeds must be registered and registration papers must be furnished by July 30. Crossbred bucks, including percentages, will also be accepted.

Bucks must be born between January 1 and February 28, 2014. Preference will be given to West Virginia cooperators, but out-of-state consignments will be accepted, if space allows.

Completed nomination forms and fees are due May 1. The estimated testing cost is $100 per animal, and it is due at the time of delivery to the test site. Bucks must be delivered to the test site on May 14.  The test will run from May 28 to July 30. A sale will be held on August 30.

The West Virginia test uses the GrowSafe system to record residual feed intake and determine feed efficiency.

Download letter to consignors
Download consignment form
Download guidelines

Monday, December 2, 2013

2014 Test Schedule

-- Revised --

The 2014 schedule has been revised in order to hold the sale of top-performing bucks on September 6. The adjustment period is being shortened to six days.

For the 2014 Western Maryland Pasture-Based Meat Goat Performance Test, bucks should be delivered to the test site on Friday, May 30. Earlier deliveries can be pre-arranged, but no bucks can be delivered after May 30.

After a 6-day adjustment period, the goats will be worked for the first time on Thursday, June 5. Weights from consecutive days will used to determine starting weights. The bucks will be worked every two weeks during the test period. The test will end on Thursday, August 28. Weights from consecutive days will be used to determine ending weights.

Perennial cool season grasses

The 2014 test will include two phases. The first six weeks of the test (June 5-July 17) will serve as a "parasite challenge." The goats will graze cool season grass paddocks that have been pre-contaminated with infective, bu anthelmintic-susceptible worm larvae.

The second six weeks of the test (July 17-Aug 28) will serve as a "growth challenge." The goats will graze annual pastures. In addition, they will receive a copper oxide wire bolus (0.5 g) on July 17 and have access to good quality grass hay. Hay consumption will be limited to 1 lb. per head per day (approximately 1.5 to 2.0 percent of body weight).

Annual pasture (forage sorghum)

2014 schedule
Friday, May 30 - goats arrive
Thursday, June 5 - data collection
Friday, June 6- reweigh goats to determine starting weights
Thursday, June 19 - data collection
Thursday, July 3 - data collection
Thursday, July 17 - data collection
Thursday, July 31 - data collection
Thursday, Aug 14 - data collection
Thursday, Aug 28 - data collection
Friday, Aug 29 - reweigh goats to determine ending weights
Saturday, Sept 6 - sale in Kentucky

Towards the end of the test, the goats will be evaluated for reproductive soundness and structural correctness. They will be scanned to estimate their rib eye area.

Bucks that do not qualify for the sale may be picked up from the test site in Maryland, transported to Kentucky for pick-up (fee required), or taken to a sale barn in Pennsylvania.