Monday, February 18, 2008

AMGA Buck Range Test

The 4th annual AMGA1 Buck Range Test began on November 1, 2006, with 46 bucks. Unlike the Maryland test which is conducted on only 10 acres of pasture for a little over 100 days, the AMGA test is conducted in a 400 acre pasture, over a 200-day period. The test is conducted at the Marvin F. Shurley Ranch, which is 4.5 miles South of Sonora, Texas.

goat from 2007 Western Maryland testAccording to Marvin Shurley, the 2006-07 test was one of the best out of the past several years from the standpoint of range condition and rainfall. From November 1, 2006, until the test ended on May 19, 2007, 13.54 inches of rainfall was received. The top goats gained about 1/3 of a lb. During the latter part of the test, when half of the rainfall fell, some goats gained over 0.5 lbs. per day. Based on records from previous years, Shurley believes bucks should be capable of gaining 0.25 lbs. per day on forage.

The top ten animals in the test included five fullbloods (four Boer and one Spanish). The rest were crossbred goats. Breeds represented included fullblood Boer, Boer crosses, Kiko crossbreds, and Spanish. Tests like these show that there is as much variation within breeds as there is between breeds.

1AMGA - American Meat Goat Association.

Thanks to Marvin Shurley for providing information about the AMGA test. Though environmental conditions differ significantly from Texas to Maryland, the AMGA test was the motivation behind the Western Maryland Pasture-Based Meat Goat Performance Test.