Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Buck Test Survey Results

Twenty-seven people responded to the recent survey about the buck test. Thirteen (48%) consigned bucks to this year's test. Fourteen (52%) did not. Of those, five have consigned to previous tests and one consigned to this year's test, but had to withdraw. Nineteen (70%) plan to consign to the 2015 test. Eight (30%) are undecided.

The survey asked questions about proposed changes to next year's test. Two thirds (n=18) of respondents support starting the test one month later, in late June/early July. Only two were opposed. Seven were undecided. Seventy-four percent of respondents (n=18) agree with providing supplemental feed to the bucks throughout the test. Only four disagreed. Three were undecided.

There was no consensus as to what to do with the top-performing bucks after the test. Seventy-eight percent of respondents agree with the idea of selecting the 10 top-performing bucks, as opposed to labeling the top-performing bucks as Gold, Silver, or Bronze. Four disagreed. Two were undecided.

Seventy percent (n=19) of respondents agree with offering discounted fees to those who consign five bucks from the same sire (half-sibs). Almost half (n=13) support discounted fees for consignors who enroll their herds in the National Sheep Improvement Program (NSIP), a quantitative genetic evaluation program which calculates EBVs (estimated breeding values) for goats (and sheep).

Using a sliding bar, respondents were able to indicate the relative importance of the traits measured in the test. Respondents considered growth (ADG), parasite resistance (FECs), and parasite resilience (FAMACHA©) to be the most important traits measured in the test. On a scale of 0-100, the average values for these traits were 93, 91, and 86, respectively.

Many respondents provided comments at the end of the survey. Please call or e-mail Susan if you'd like to discuss your comments or concerns about next year's test:  (301) 432-2767 x343 or sschoen@umd.edu.