Thursday, August 25, 2016

Virginia Tech Production Sheep Sale

The 17th Annual Virginia Tech Production Sheep Sale will be held Saturday, September 3, 2016, at the Alphin-Stuart Livestock Arena on the campus of Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Virginia.

In addition to Suffolk and Dorset ram lambs, select groups of Suffolk and Dorset ewe lambs will be offered for sale. This year's sale will be available through the itnernet for online bidding using www.CowBuyer,com. For updates and more information, go to

Proceeds from the sale provide major financial support for the sheep program at Virginia Tech.

Southwest Virginia Ram Sale & Field Day

The 2016 Southwest AREC Sheep Field Day and Ram Test Sale will be held Saturday, September 23 at Virginia Tech's Southwest Agricultural Research & Extension Center in Glade Spring, Virginia. Katahdin rams participating in the ram test will be offered for sale.

Katahdin rams from 2014 sale
The purpose of the test is to quantify the growth and parasite resistance of rams. For more information, please contact Lee Wright at (276) 944-2200 or Dr. Scott Greiner at (540) 231-9159.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Field Day, Ram & Ewe Sale in Virginia

The 41st Annual Virginia Performance Tested Ram Lamb Sale & Replacement Ewe Lamb Sale will be held Saturday, August 27, 2016, at the Virginia Sheep Evaluation Station in Steele's Tavern, Virginia.  It will include a Field Day and Educational Program. The educational program will begin at 10:30 a.m. The sale will begin at 1 p.m.

Field Day topics include forage management and winter feeding, selecting for parasite resistance, lamb marketing, and sheep health. Eighty rams were delivered to the test site on May 3, 2016 (13 fall Dorset, 7 winter Dorset,  8 winter Hampshire, 3 fall Suffolk, 36 winter Suffolk, 6 winter North Country Cheviot, 3 fall White Dorper, 5 winter White Dorper, 1 fall Katahdin, and 10 Winter Katahdin). Unsound and unsuitable rams will not be sold.

More information, including videos of the sale rams, is available at Or visit the ram test on Facebook at

Monday, July 18, 2016

Summer 2016 Wild & Woolly

The Summer 2016 issue of Wild & Woolly has been published to the web. Wild & Woolly is a quarterly newsletter for sheep and goat producers. It is published by University of Maryland Extension.

The newsletter is available as an HTML or PDF file. It is also available on ISSUU, an electronic publishing platform. Mailed copies of the newsletter are available for a cost recovery fee of $10/year, payable to the University of Maryland.

To subscribe to the newsletter listserv, send an email message to In the body of the message, write subscribe sheepandgoatnews.



Monday, July 11, 2016

Everything Sheep and Goats

A Twilight Tour & Tasting was held July 8 at the Washington County Agricultural Education Center in Boonsboro, Maryland, to celebrate everything sheep and goats. Attendance was capped at 100.

Handing out samples of lamb and goat
Local chef Todd Morren prepared six dishes made from lamb and chevon (goat meat) and one dish made from cheese (sheep milk). Small ruminant dairies were on hand to give out cheese samples and sell their products. There was a display of small ruminant fibers.

On the wagon tour
There were wagon tours to the Western Maryland Research & Education Center. Tour stops included the Western Maryland Pasture-Based Meat Goat Performance Test (11th year) and the Goat Performance & Carcass Contest (1st year).

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Comparison of Weaning Methods

Researchers in Arkansas compared weaning methods to determine effects on performance and behavior of lambs. 168 crossbred Katahdin lambs were utilized in two experiments. Traditional weaning was characterized by complete separation of lambs from their dams, whereas fenceline weaning maintained fenceline contact. In contrast with calves, lamb performance and behavior did not differ among weaning methods.

There is no benefit to fenceline contact.

In two additional experiments, involving 190 Katahdin lambs, the time of day was added as a variable. The four treatment groups were 1) traditional-am; 2) traditional-pm; 3) fenceline-am; and 4) fenceline-pm. In these experiments, there were no beneficial effects of alternative weaning strategies. No performance differences were detected among treatment groups. The percentage of lambs vocalizing was greater among those with fenceline contact with their dams.

Source:  Sheep & Goat Research Journal

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Hair Lambs Sell at Discount to Wool Lambs

Texas A&M University compared the prices of wool lambs, primarily Rambouillet, with the prices of hair lambs, primarily Dorper, sold at Producers Livestock Auction Company in San Angelo Texas, the largest live sheep market in the US. The data set included 286,764 lambs sold in 25,916 lots from 2010 to 2014.

The results indicated an overall discount of $3.42 ± $0.33 per hundredweight (cwt) for hair lambs. The largest discount was in 2011 ($30.74 ± $0.41 per cwt). The discount relative to wool lambs increased as lamb weight increased.

In 2012, the price for hair lambs was $9.62 ± $0.62 per cwt higher for hair lambs. Hair lambs sold for $3.18 ± $0.83 per cwt more than wool lambs in the 40-50 lb. weight class, whereas wool lambs sold for $9.09 ± $0.68 per cwt more than hair lambs in the 90-100 lb. weight class.

Prices increased as lot size increased. Wool lambs sold for a larger premium in the larger lot sizes. Wool lambs sold for $8.59 ± $0.39 per cwt more than hair lambs when there were 35 or more lambs in the lot.The difference in price between hair lambs and wool lambs varied across years, months, weight class, and lot size.

Source:  Sheep & Goat Research JournalRead full article.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Looking For the Best Bucks

Ninety-seven (97) mostly Kiko bucks began the 2016 Western Maryland Pasture-Based Meat Goat Performance Test on June 23-24.  There were originally 142 goats nominated for the test, but nominations had to be reduced.

The goats were consigned by 34 goat breeders from 17 states.  Kentucky is the state with the most goats and consigners. Two Maryland breeders consigned 8 goats to the test.

Some of the bucks in the test

While on test, the goats will consume a pasture-based diet and be evaluated for growth, parasite resistance, parasite resilience, and carcass muscling. After a 13-day adjustment period, the test will span 84 days. Starting weights will be determined July 7-8. The goats will be handled bi-weekly for data collection.

A Performance & Carcass Contest is being held in conjunction with this year's test. Fifteen goats were entered into the contest. The contest goats will consume a hay-grain diet, with a goal of moderate gain. At the end of the feeding period, they will be harvested to collected carcass data.

To follow the progress of this year's test and contest, visit the blog at

It is the 11th year of the test and the 1st year of the contest. Both are sponsored by the University of Maryland Extension Small Ruminant Program and held at the University of Maryland's Western Maryland Research & Education Center in Keedysville.

Monday, May 9, 2016

72 Youth Compete in '16 Skillathon

Seventy-two (72) youth from five states competed in the Junior Sheep & Goat Skillathon, held May 8 at the Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival.

Three young ladies from Maryland took home top honors. Taryn Schwartz from Howard County was the top junior. The top intermediate was Lizzy Miller from Montgomery County. The top senior was also from Montgomery County:  Lauren Dallas.

2016 Skillathon winners
Lauren Dallas (L), Taryn Schwartz (C) and Lizzy Miller (R)

Mary Rose from Virginia was the second place junior. Edden Molder, also from Virginia, placed third. Jordan Kelly from Virginia was the second place intermediate. Anna Clemmer from Howard County placed third. In the senior division, Rebecca Herriotts placed second. Jennifer Brigante placed third. Both are from Howard County.

The first place junior team was from Virginia. Team members included Mary Rose, Eddyn Molden, Kolten Vincent, and Kelly Jackson.  The second place team was the Queen Anne's County team composed of Aubrey Clark and Madison and Hannah Branham.

The first place intermediate team was from Virginia. Team members included Jordan Kelly, Hayley Seabright, Berkeley Frank, and Quinna Molden. Frederick County had the second place intermediate team. Team members included Kallam Latham, Kariana and Kiandra Strickhouser, and Jessica Martin. The third place intermediate team was from the Lower Shore (Maryland). Team members included Cole Olsen, Jordan Webster, and Cassie Knight.

Feedstuff ID

The top senior team was from Montgomery County. Team members included Trevor Magaha, Sara Lechlider, and Ashley Hobbs. The second place senior team was from Virginia. Team members included Cyle Dehaven, Bobby Slater, Courtney Walls, and Mikayla St. Clair. The third place senior team was from Anne Arundel County. Team members included Jacqueline Bowen, Kelsey Winters, Josiah Tice, and Monica Ogilvie.

The Maryland Sheep Breeders Association provided ribbons and premiums for the top ten individuals in each age division and t-shirts for the members of the top three teams in each age division.

Special thanks to everyone who helped with this year's skillathon.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016


Learn how to Cover, Push, Pull, Pop! That is the FAMACHA© scoring technique that determines the degree of Barber Pole Worm (Haemonchus contortus) infection in sheep, goats and camelids. This how to video emphasizes FAMACHA© scoring Out West with large flocks of small ruminants.

Discover how it is easy and financially rewarding to ascertain the degree of infection in your flock- FAMACHA© scoring saves you money in deworming only the lambs and ewes that are actually infected (often 80 percent of the infection is concentrated in 20 percent of the flock). It also allows you to set up a refugia that will greatly slow the resistance of Haemonchus to your limited array of dewormers.

Find out how to get FAMACHA© training and your FAMACHA© Score Card, including the brand new Online FAMACHA© Certification offered by the University of Rhode Island. If you have lush pastures, you will have Haemonchus. This video is for you.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

APPS for Sheep and Goat Producers

"App" is short for "application" - which is another name for a computer program. Normally, when people talk about apps they are almost always referring to programs that run on mobile devices, such as smartphones or tablet computers. 

ASI Market News
ASI Market News is produced by the American Sheep Industry Association
to help sheep producers stay informed on current market conditions. This app displays several national and auction barn reports for locations across the United States. The app also contains a break even calculator. The report data is compiled by the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service.

Goat & Sheep Weight Calculator
Goat & Sheep Weight Calculator allows you to calculate the approximate weight of your goats and sheep by using a cloth measuring tape to determine the girth of the animal’s heart and the length of the animal’s body. Simply enter in your measurements to calculate the weight of your goats and sheep in pounds.

Pearson Square
Pearson Square provides an easy way to calculate mixtures of two ingredients. It is very useful in the fertilizer, animal feed, and sausage industries. Animal Science and Veterinary students should also find it very useful. 

To see an A-Z list of APPS for sheep and goat producers, go to!apps/coh8

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Spring 2016 Issue of Wild & Woolly

The Spring 2016 issue of Wild & Woolly has been published to the web. Wild & Woolly is a quarterly newsletter for sheep and goat producers. It is published by University of Maryland Extension.

The newsletter is available as an HTML or PDF file. It is also available on ISSUU, an electronic publishing platform. Mailed copies of the newsletter are available for a cost recovery fee of $10/year, payable to the University of Maryland.

To subscribe to the newsletter listserv, send an email message to In the body of the message, write subscribe sheepandgoatnews.


Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Working Dog Liability Insurance

The Working Dog Liability Insurance (WDLI) was unveiled at the American Sheep Industry Convention in January. The insurance is for livestock producers who use guardian and herding dogs to protect their livestock from predators and other risks, and to assist in the management of the flock or herd.

Livestock guardian dog
Frequently, producers have no liability protection from incidents related to guardian or herding dogs.  Most farm and ranch insurance policies exclude working dogs or dogs which "may show aggressive tendencies." WDLI is managed and serviced by Food and Fiber Risk Managers. They understand the business and know that livestock production is your livelihood. They have your best interest at heart.

Annual premium rates for the first guardian or herding dog can be a low as $100 depending on each producer's situation. Additional dogs can be as low as $25 each.

According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, and the National Canine Research Council, more than $400,000,000 is paid annually in all dog liability claims in the US. Most working dogs owned and used by sheep and livestock producers are excluded from the typical farm and ranch, or home owner’s insurance policies. Having WDLI will protect you from liability.

To learn more, go to

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

2016 Maryland Wool Pool

 The Maryland Wool Pool will be held at the Maryland State Fairgrounds in Timonium on June 22 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.  All producers are welcome to attend and bring wool.  We always need volunteers for this event so any students seeking volunteer hours or producers looking to learn a little more about their wool clip are welcome to come and help out.

Wool presses are available for use. Bringing your wool in baled (bales are 250 pounds) and will get you a $0.05 cent price increase for your wool. Inquiries on the wool presses are welcome.  Wool from previous years can be brought to the pool and sold. Just be sure it has been stored properly and doesn't have any vermin living in it.  Wool for the pool needs to be dry.  Make make sure you shear your sheep dry and store your wool clear of the elements.

Wool can be brought in plastic trash bags and you can bring multiple fleeces in one bag. You do not need to be a member of the Maryland Sheep Breeders Association to bring wool to the pool. All producers are welcome and any amount of wool is accepted. Please do not bring black wool to the pool. We still do not buy black wool.

Any questions regarding the wool pool can be directed to Emily Chamelin-Hickman (wool pool director) at or (443) 244-2702.  

Wool Classing School
This year, we will also be hosting an ASI Level 1 Wool Classing School. This will be held in conjunction with the Maryland Wool Pool. The dates are June 21-23.  Dr. Ron Pope will be instructing. All interested parties should contact Linda Shane at or (301) 746-8083 to get more information and to register.

Monday, April 4, 2016

Shepherd's Workshops at MSWF

The Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival has an excellent line-up of Shepherd's Workshops this year. Each workshop costs $20 to attend. Pre-registration is required. To register, go to

  • Keeping Parasites at Bay with Dr. Andrea Loar
    Thursday, May 5, 8:30-10:00 am.
  • Best Breeding Practices with Dr. Andrea Loar
    Thursday, May 5, 10:30 a.m. to 12 noon
  • Differences among sheep breeds for growth, carcass, and meat quality traits with Dr. Kreg Leymaster
    Thursday, May 5, 1:30 to 3:30 p.m.
  • New Approaches to Eradicate Ovine Progressive Pneumonia with Dr. Kreg Leymaster
    Friday, May 6, 8:30 to 10:00 a.m.
  • Get greater genetic improvement with cooperative breeding schemes with Dr. Kreg Lemaster
    Friday, May 6, 10:30 a.m. to 12 noon
  • What are the production limits for easy-care sheep? with Dr. Kreg Leymaster
    Friday, May 6, 1:30 to 3 p.m.

All the workshops will be held in the show ring.

About the speakers
Dr. Andrea Loar is a 2014 graduate of Cornell University. She is owner of Windy’s Legacy Livestock Reproduction Services, LLC, a practice specializing in food animal and small ruminant reproduction and neonatal care. She also works for the Mountain View Animal Emergency Clinic in Hagerstown, Maryland. She grew up raising market lambs in Howard County.

Dr. Kreg Leymaster joined the USDA, Agricultural Research Service (ARS) at the U.S. Meat Animal Research Center (in Clay Center, Nebraska) in 1978 and has led sheep and swine genetic research. Dr. Leymaster’s sheep research has emphasized evaluation of dam and sire breeds in terminal crossbreeding systems, estimation of genetic parameters, investigation of mutations affecting muscle development, and genetic resistance to disease.