Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Nomination deadline approaching

The deadline for nominating goats to the 2012 Western Maryland Pasture-Based Meat Goat Performance Test is next Tuesday, May 15. Nominations must be postmarked by May 15.

As of today, twelve producers from six states have nominated 45 goats to the test and committed to providing 14 bucks for the pen vs. pasture study. Among the twelve consigners, four are new to the test.

State - number of goats consigned (goats for study)
Delaware - 5 (2)
Indiana - 7 (2)
Kentucky - 13 (4)
Maryland - 10 (2)
Vermont - 2 (0)
Virginia - 8 (4)

Most of the goats are Kiko or Kiko-influenced. There is one Spanish, a few Spanish crosses, Boer crosses, a dairy cross, and a few Myotonics (fainting goats).

Kiko buck from last year's test

Upon delivery to the test site on June 2, the goats should weigh between 35 and 70 lbs. Their hooves should be trimmed (if necessary) so that they can stand in a foot bath (of zinc sulfate). The goats should have been weaned for at least two weeks prior to the start of the test and be adjusted to a pasture diet.

Every year brings a different set of circumstances to the test.  The past winter was mild, which could result in a greater parasite challenge (Susan hopes!).  Plants grew early, but have been stunted by the unusually dry spring.

Forages for this year will include cool season grasses (MaxQ tall fescue and orchardgrass) and warm season grasses (Dwarf Pearl Millet and crab grass), along with an assortment of forbs. Supplemental feed (hay) will only be provided, if extreme drought conditions are experienced. The goats always have access to a mineral mix.