Thursday, March 6, 2008

Goats sought for 2008 Pasture Test

The 2008 Western Maryland Pasture-Based Meat Goat Performance Test will be conducted from June 7 until October 4, 2008, at the University of Maryland's Western Maryland Research & Education Center in Keedysville, Maryland. The test is sponsored by Maryland Cooperative Extension.

Goats grazing pearl millet in the 2007 testThe nomination period for this year's test is April 1-May 15. A nomination fee of $20 per goat must accompany the nomination form. Checks should be made payable to the University of Maryland. An additional $55 will be due when the goats are delivered to the test site.

Goat producers from any state may consign up to five (5) male goats to the test, though preference will be given to previous consigners and Maryland residents. The pasture resource will accomodate approximately fifty (50) goats.

The guidelines stipulate that the goats be between 3 and 5 months of age at the start of the test. There is a minimum weight requirement of 35 lbs. and it is suggested that goats weigh no more than 70 lbs. They should be weaned prior to the test and have received two vaccinations for clostridium perfringins type C and D and tetanus (CD-T).

During the test, the goats will be managed as a single group on pasture. They will be rotationally grazed among five 2-acre paddocks. For 2008, the paddocks will consist primarily of orchardgrass, Max Q™ tall fescue, chicory, pearl millet, and forage kale.

Boer goat grazing fescue in 2007 testThe goats will always have access to a central laneway containing port-a-hut shelters, water, minerals, and a handling system. As this is a pasture test, supplemental feed (nutrition tubs and/or grass hay) will only be provided if environmental conditions necessitate their use.

While on test, the goats will be evaluated for growth performance, parasite resistance, and carcass merit. They will be handled every two weeks using low stress livestock handling techniques to determine body weight, FAMACHA© and body condition scores and assess overall health. Only goats scoring 4 or 5 on the FAMACHA© eye anemia scale will be dewormed, unless other clinical signs are observed.

Fecal samples will be collected every 14 days until the goats require deworming. Scrotal measurements will be taken at the beginning and end of the test. Ultrasound carcass measurements will be done towards the end of the testing period.

Consigners may nominate up to two (2) goats for the collection of slaughter data. There will be an additional fee of $25 per head for this option. The slaughter component is NEW for 2008.

Port-a-hut sheltersThere will be a Performance Tested Buck and Invitational Doe Sale on Saturday, October 4, at the Washington County Agricultural Center in Boonsboro, MD (an adjacent property). The TOP twenty (20) bucks based on performance data and minimum standards for structural correctness and reproductive soundness will be eligible to sell via live auction.

In addition, consigners will be able to nominate up to five (5) doe kids for each male goat they have on test. Sale does must have on-farm performance records.

A Goat Field Day will be held at the research center prior to the sale. The field day and sale are NEW for 2008.

For more information about the 2008 goat test, sale, and field day, contact Susan Schoenian at (301) 432-2767 x343 or; Jeff Semler at (301) 791-1304 or, or Jeanne Dietz-Band at (301) 432-7296 or

Information can also be obtained from the blog at

2008 Nomination Form
2008 Guidelines and Protocol
2008 Maryland Health Regulations
2008 CVI and self-cerfication form