Thursday, April 19, 2012

New Forage-Based Ram Test

This entry isn't specifically about goats, but it may be of interest. This year, Virginia Tech will be initiating a forage-based ram performance test (for hair sheep rams) at the Southwest Ag Research & Extension Center in Glade Spring, Virginia.

The test is designed to evaluate growth and parasite resistance in hair sheep rams and has some similarities to the Western Maryland Pasture-Based Meat Goat Performance Test. While on test, the rams will have continuous access to high quality fescue pasture and be supplemented daily with a concentrate ration at a rate of 3% of their body weight.

After a 21-day adjustment period, all rams will receive an oral dose of 5,000 3rd stage Haemonchus contortus larvae.  According to Virginia Tech, this level of artificial infection does not produce clinical disease in animals. We are proposing a similar artificial challenge in this year's buck test.

As with our buck test, Virginia Tech will collect fecal samples and do FAMACHA© scoring every 14 days. At the end of the test, they will conduct ultrasound evaluation for carcass traits.

Good luck to Virginia Tech with their new forage-based ram performance test.

Virginia Tech Southwest AREC Ram Test