Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Kiko Performance Invitational (KPI)

The Western Maryland Pasture-Based Meat Goat Performance Test would like to offer a new program to consigners, called the Kiko Performance Initiative (KPI). The purpose of KPI is to get a core group of Kiko breeders to enroll in NSIP/KidPlan to get the meat goat industry started in quantitative genetic evaluation and establish the Kiko breed as the leader in this regard.

I (Susan Schoenian) would like to offer the program to previous consigners to the Maryland test, as well as those who have purchased top-performing bucks, as it is you who have already demonstrated a commitment to performance evaluation.

In order to enroll in KPI (NSIP/KidPlan), you should have at least 30 does. Herds should be purebred or high percentage Kiko (or other breed). Producers who raise crossbred animals can "participate" by purchasing breeding stock from NSIP-enrolled herds.  Participation is possible with smaller herds, with sufficiently high kidding percentages (see table).

# does
% kid crop
# kids
Buck A
Buck B

Kidding percentage is the number of kids sold (or retained) divided by the number of does exposed for breeding. There is a basic need of 15 kids per contemporary group (per sire). Twenty (20) is preferred. A contemporary group is a group of kids, with similar birth dates (range) that have been managed the same.

Breeding strategies
Producers should use at least two bucks for breeding. NSIP/KidPlan works best if participating herds "share" genetics, meaning the same buck (or his semen) is used in different herds, ideally with different production practices and different climates. Using sons of the same sire for breeding will also create some genetic linkages, though not as close.

Genetic linkages are necessary to get across-herd EBVs. Across-herd EBVs allow comparison of animals on different farms. Without genetic linkages, EBVs can still be calculated for use in within-herd comparisons.

It is important to understand that EBVs are about the differences in performance not the absolute values. If a buck has a heavy weaning weight, it doesn't mean he'll have a high EBV for weaning weight. His heavy weaning weight could be the result of favorable environmental conditions (e.g. mature dam, single birth, creep-fed). EBVs "tease out" the environmental effects to get genetic predictions of performance.

The data required for NSIP/KidPlan is data most producers are already collecting. The data collected on the farm is entered into a program (online) called Pedigree Master. Australia's KidPlan calculates the EBVs. My goal is to find, adapt, or develop an app that will make data recording easier and allow automatic upload to NSIP/KidPlan. Electronic ID (EID, RFID) would also facilitate data recording. In the meantime, I (Susan) am willing to enter the data into Pedigree Master and serve as the coordinator for KPI.

 Required data  Optional data
 Sire and dam
 Date of birth
 Birth weight*
 Type of birth and rearing
 Weaning weight
 Post-weaning weight
 Fecal egg counts
 Scrotal circumference
 Carcass data
 Other weights
*  can use standard birth weight

Obviously, there are costs associated with NSIP/KidPlan.  There is an annual enrollment fee:  $100 plus a per doe charge of  $2.50. The first year enrollment fee is waived. It is also waived for youth (younger than 22, up to 3 years). The database fee is dependent upon the number of kids entered. It is $3 per kid. Up to 25% of the kid crop can be designated as commercial or cull, in which case no data base fees are charged. Database fees cover the lifetime of the animal. Entering historical data (recommended) will increase first year cost; however, only the two most recent kid crops are billable.

Annual enrollment fees
Database fee
Per female
Per kid
First year

The maximum annual enrollment fee is $400. There is a cost of $25 for each additional herd. The cost of participating in NSIP/KidPlan is less than the cost of participating in buck tests. And the data is more meaningful. Let me know if KPI interests you.   Or call me.