Thursday, October 25, 2012

2013 Test Update

No major changes are planned for next year's Western Maryland Pasture-Based Meat Goat Performance Test. Producers from any state will be able to consign up to five male goats to the test. The nomination period will be from April, 1 until May 15, 2013.

Eligible goats must be born between December 20, 2012, and March 20, 2013, and weigh between 35 and 70 lbs. at the start of the test (on June 1). If more nominations are received than the pasture resource can accommodate, preference will be given to Maryland residents and previous consigners.

The test has received funding to make various improvements to the test facilities. New "permanent" interior fencing will be installed. Two (plus) acres of additional pasture will be permanently fenced. This acreage is planted in walnut trees and mixed hardwoods and was not used for grazing in 2012, but has been used in other years.

Bucks from the 2012 test

A cover (hoop house) will be installed over the handling system. This will improve the comfort level for both the goats and handlers. A new work platform will be incorporated into the handling system. The work platform will have a digital scale built into the floor. This should improve the accuracy of weighing, as well as reduce the handling stress of both the goats and handlers.

A local sheep flock is being used to help better manage the pasture resource. The sheep will help to remove excess forage growth in the spring and fall. They will also be used  to help contaminate the pastures with infective worm larvae in the spring (prior to the arrival of the goats on June 1). A natural worm infection is preferred to an artificial challenge. We are not planning to artificially dose the goats with worm larvae in 2013.  While the artificial challenge had no effect on goats health in 2012, some producers were not comfortable with the practice.

Bucks meeting Gold, Silver, and Bronze Standards of performance will be eligible to sell. We are planning to hold an "open house" or field day during the middle of the testing period. The purpose of the field day would be to provide an educational opportunity for all goat producers, as well as to showcase the buck test and its new facilities.

Please contact me ( or another member of the goat test team, if you have any questions, concerns, or suggestions.