Thursday, March 5, 2015

A Successful Small Ruminant Expo

Over 140 people, including 35 youth, attended the first-ever Maryland Small Ruminant Expo. The Expo was held February 28 at the Frederick County 4-H Camp & Activities Center in Frederick.

Youth program - goat necropsy
The adult program featured concurrent educational tracks on pasture, health, marketing and alternative enterprises (dairy and fiber). There were four producer panels. Dr. Lindsay Lane was one of the featured speakers. Before attending veterinary school in the Cayman Islands and Minnesota, Dr. Lane was the farm manager for the University of Maryland College Park.

There was a separate educational program for youth, ages 8-18. It featured sessions on dairy, wool, and meat. In the dairy session, youth learned how to make soap. They felted wool and made wool grading posters in the wool session, and learned how to cook goat meat in the meat session. In the final session, "No Guts, No Glory," Dr. Lane taught the kids how to dissect lambs and kids to determine their cause of death.

Lunch was a taco bar, featuring locally-sourced goat meat and lamb and cheeses made from sheep and goat milk. Thanks to Bridgestone Manor Farm for providing the goat. The cheeses were provided by Caprikorn Farms and Shepherd's Manor Creamery. The lamb was purchased from Holsinger's Meats.

The Maryland-Pennsylvania-West Virginia Goat Producers Association and University of Maryland Beginning Farmer Success Project provided financial support for the Expo. Door prizes were donated by the University of Maryland Small Ruminant Extension Program, Maryland Ag Experiment Station, and Kent Feeds.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Goat AI Clinic in Western Maryland

In partnership with University of Maryland Extension, the Maryland Dairy Goat Association (MDGA) will be hosting a Goat Artificial Insemination (AI) Clinic on May 5-6, 2015, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., at the Washington County Ag Expo in Boonsboro, Maryland.

The clinic will be taught by Bio-Genetics, LTD. The first day will be spent in a classroom learning environment. The second day will be hands-on training. Participants must provide their own AI equipment, as well as a doe in heat. For information about equipment and bringing does into heat, go to the Bio-Genetics web site or call their office at (208) 756-6500.

The cost of attending is $200 for MDGA members and $225 for non-members. A deposit of $50 will hold a place. The balance of payment is due April 25. Checks made payable to the Maryland Dairy Goat Association should be sent to MDGA Treasurer: Janice Kessler, 6170 Clearview Road, Dover, PA  17315.

Download program flyer

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Endophyte-infected Fescue Reduces Fetal Growth

Researchers at Clemson University determined that exposure to ergot alkaloids during gestation reduces fetal growth in sheep. Tall fescue (Lolium arundinaceum), the primary cool season perennial grass in the Eastern United States, contains an endophyte which produces ergot alkaloids that cause vasoconstriction and could restrict the blood flow to the fetus in pregnant ewes.

The objective of the study was to examine fetal growth  during maternal exposure to ergot alkaloids during gestation. Pregnant Southdown ewes (n=16) were randomly assigned to one of two dietary treatments: 1) endophyte infected tall fescue seed (E+) and 2) endophyte-free tall fescue seed (E-).  The fescue seed was delivered daily in a total mixed ration. The seed compromised 38.5% of the ration.The fescue seed was fed to simlulate the fescue toxicosis syndrome during gestation (d 35 to parturition).

Birth weights of lambs were reduced by 37 percent for the E+ compared to E-. Organ and muscle weights were also lighter for E+ comapred to E-.  The researchers concluded that exposure to ergot alkaloids in utero reduces fetal growth and muscle development. Additional research is needed to determine mechanisms by which ergot alkaloids reduce fetal growth and the critical time periods of exposure in order to mitigate its effects on fetal growth. 

Read full paper

Friday, February 27, 2015

2015 Tuskegee Goat Day

Tuskegee University's 2015 Annual Goat Day will be held Saturday, April 18 at the Caprine Research & Education Unit at Tuskegee University in Tuskegee, Alabama.

The theme of this year's Goat Day is diseases and parasites.

The Goat Day is sponsored by George Washington Carver Agricultural Experiment Station, Tuskegee University Cooperative Extension and ALFA Meat Goat and Sheep Producers Committee.

Go to web site

Thursday, February 19, 2015

New Videos on Parasite Control

The Northeast Small Ruminant Parasite Control Program has created three instructional videos:
  1. How and why to do FAMACHA© scoring
  2. How and why to do sheep and goat fecal egg counting
  3. Microscope crash course for fecal egg counting
Gastrointestinal nematode (GIN) parasites, such as the barber pole worm (Haemonchus contortus), are a serious problem, affecting small ruminant production throughout New England and the world. The goal of Northeast Small Ruminant Parasite Control Program is to improve the parasite control practices of farmers in New England.

Project partners include Cornell University, University of Rhode Island, University of Wisconsin-Madison, West Virginia University, and the VA-MD Regional College of Veterinary Medicine. For more information about this project including additional resources and updates, go to

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

New Fact Sheet on Coccidiosis

NCAT-ATTRA has published a new fact sheet: Coccidiosis: Symptoms, Prevention, and Treatment in Sheep, Goats, and Calves. It is written by Linda Coffey. Linda is a member of the American Consortium for Small Ruminant Parasite Control (ACSRPC).

Coccidiosis is a common and damaging illness of sheep, goats, and cattle, particularly young lambs, kids, and calves. Producers will benefit from understanding the causes, and especially the prevention, of this illness.

ATTRA is a program developed and managed by the National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT). ATTRA services are available to farmers, ranchers, market gardeners, Extension agents, researchers, educators, farm organizations, and others involved in agriculture, especially those who are economically disadvantaged or belong to traditionally underserved communities.

Fact sheet summary
Free download

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Follow Markets On Your Smart Phone

You can follow the lamb and wool markets on your smart phone. ASI Market News is produced by the American Sheep Industry Association to help sheep producers stay informed on current market conditions.

The app displays 6 national as well as 7 auction barn reports for locations across the United States. The report data is compiled by the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service. From the front page, users can select to search national reports or auction reports

While the number of eastern markets is limited --  only sale barns that have USDA reporting are being used in the app -- the app includes the New Holland (PA) auction report. New Holland is the largest sheep and goat market in the Eastern US.  Lambs sold at New Holland are usually destined for non-traditional markets.

The app was recently updated to include more Eastern reports and a "breakeven calculator." So far, more than 2050 people have downloaded the app. The app allows producers to make more informed marketing decisions.

ASI Market News is available for both Apple and Android operating systems and can be downloaded from their respective stores.

Apple's App Store
Android Store

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Annual Forages to Manage Internal Parasites

by Dr. Richard Ehrhardt
Michigan State University

The health and productivity of sheep and goats in perennial pasture grazing systems are often limited by a combination of forage quality and gastrointestinal nematode (GIN) infection. This is particularly evident in lactating dams and their offspring, as these animals are at greater risk for GIN infection due to their lower immunity relative to non-lactating adults.

Strips of leafy brassica varieties and Sudan grass
Alternating the grazing episodes/bouts of these susceptible animals with either machine harvesting the forage or by grazing with less susceptible animals or species (cattle, for example) are strategies to maintain forage quality while reducing infection risk.

Another effective method is to integrate the use of annual forages into a grazing program. Annuals can provide grazing opportunities with zero to low risk for GIN infection while simultaneously providing a plane of nutrition even higher than perennial pastures, meeting the nutritional requirements of lactating dams and their offspring.

Read full article

Source:  American Consortium for Small Ruminant Parasite Control (ACSRPC)

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Marylander Receives ASI's Camptender Award

David Greene was the recent recipient of the American Sheep Industry (ASI) Association's Camptender Award.  The Camptender Award recognizes industry contributions from a professional in a position or field related to sheep production. 

Nancy and David Greene
David is a retired county extension agent and county extension director from Carroll County (Maryland).  For years, he taught the Maryland-Delaware Sheep Shearing School. David has served ASI in many ways for many years. He and his wife Nancy operate a 100-acre sheep farm in northern Baltimore County.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Workshop: Controlling Unwanted Vegetation

Use of Small Ruminants to Control Unwanted Vegetation is the title of a workshop to be held Saturday, February 21, 2015, at the University of  Maryland Eastern Shore (UMES).

The workshop will be held from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Richard A. Henson Center on the campus of UMES. Several speakers will describe their practices, accomplishments, and challenges.

The cost of registration is $25 per person or $40 for couples.

View flyer

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

2015 Tennessee Small Ruminant Conference

The 2015 Tennessee Small Ruminant Conference will be held on July 30 - August 1 on the UT Ag Campus in Knoxville at the Brehm Animal Science Building. The conference will count for Tennessee Advanced Master Meat Goat and Sheep Producer certification, if needed.

The conference this year will be highlighted with a tour of the UT College of Veterinary Medicine, Portable Fencing Demonstration and Trade Show. This year's trade show vendors will give away door prizes including a tilt table and gates valued at $1450.00 donated by Ketcham's Sheep Supply, $250 in livestock supplies donated by Estep Livestock Show Supply and $250 in feed from Tennessee Farmer's Cooperative.

Pre-registration is required. The cost is $100 per individual or $160 per couple which covers the costs of the training sessions, educational manuals, other teaching/instructional materials and lunch all three days.

Download program brochure and registration form

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Winter 2015 Wild & Woolly

The Winter 2015 issue of Wild & Woolly has been published to the web at

A printer-friendly (PDF) version of the newsletter can be downloaded from

The newsletter is also now available on ISSUU, a digital publishing platform at

Savannas are the featured breed in this issue.
(image courtesy of North American Savanna Association)
Subscribe to the newsletter listserv to receive an e-mail message when a new issue of the newsletter had been posted to the web. To subscribe, send an e-mail message to In the body of the message, write subscribe sheepandgoatnews. You can also follow ISSUU to receive notification of new newsletters.

Wild & Woolly is a quarterly newsletter for sheep and goat producers and anyone else interested in small ruminants. It is published by University of Maryland Extension.

Newsletter archive

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Vaccine Proving Effective

One of the most damaging and prevalent roundworm parasites in the world is now being seriously challenged by a new vaccine developed by the Moredun Research Institute in Scotland.

The barber pole worm or Haemonchus contortus is a voracious blood sucker which causes anaemia in sheep and goats and can quickly cause fatalities.

Barber pole worms (image by Ray Kaplan)
The long road to producing a commercially available vaccine started at the Moredun several years ago with the identification of the proteins in the intestines of the barber pole worm. Extracting and purifying these proteins and then incorporating them in tiny quantities in a vaccine has turned out to trigger a reliable immune response in sheep. Essentially the antibodies produced circulate in the bloodstream and then block the digestive system of the invading worm. It will eventually die and should produce far fewer eggs before its demise.

“We have noted a 90% reduction in egg laying on pastures,” said David Smith, project leader at the Moredun. Initially, Mr Smith considered using molecular biology to reproduce the proteins but soon discovered that it would be far cheaper and easier to harvest barber pole worms from the intestines of infested sheep and then extract the proteins.

Remarkably, no pharmaceutical companies are involved allowing profits to be recirculated back to the Moredun for further research into animal diseases.

Read full article