Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Nomination Period Open for 2015 Buck Test

The nomination period is now open for the 2015 Western Maryland Pasture-Based Meat Goat Performance Test. It will extend until June 1. All nominations received by the deadline will be treated equally.

The test is open to goat producers in any state, who may consign up to five male goats, of any breed or breed cross (with or without registration eligibility) to the test. The goats must have been born between January 1 and March 15, 2015. They must weigh between 40 and 70 lbs. upon delivery to the test site on June 26. Health papers are required.

Bucks grazing in last year's test.
While on test, the goats will be evaluated for growth performance, parasite resistance, and parasite resilience. They will also be evaluated for structural correctness and reproductive soundness and be scanned to determine the size of their longissimus dorsi (rib eye) muslce. The ten top-performing bucks will be recognized.

After a 12-day adjustment period, the goats will be evaluated for 84 days. The test will conclude on October 2. While on test, they will be managed as a single herd. They will be rotationally grazed, among six ~ 2acre paddocks, composed of various cool and warm season perennial and annual plants. They will be supplemented with pelleted soybean hulls on a daily basis, 0.75 lbs. per day or approximately 1.5% of body weight.

The first half of the test (day 1-42) will served as a "growth challenge." The goats will graze "clean" warm season grasses and legumes. The second half of the test (day 42-84) will serve as a "parasite challenge." The goats will graze cool season grass paddocks that have been pre-contaminated with infective worm larvae (by sheep).

2015 Guidelines and Protocol
Nomination Form

Monday, April 13, 2015

2015 Junior Sheep & Goat Skillathon

The 2015 Junior Sheep & Goat Skillathon will be held Sunday, May 3, at the Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival. The Festival is always held the first full weekend of May at the Howard County Fairgrounds in West Friendship.

Registration for the contest begins at 8 a.m. The contest starts at 9 a.m.  Awards will be presented at approximately 1 p.m. A small donation is requested to cover the cost of lunch (pizza and sodas).

A skillathon provides youth with the opportunity to blend knowledge and skills acquired in livestock judging, demonstrations, and care and exhibition of animals into a single activity. It consists of a series of stations where youth are tested on their knowledge and abilities related to livestock. In the Sheep & Goat Skillathon, all stations will pertain to sheep and/or goats.

The skillathon is open to any youth between the ages of 8 and 18. Individuals and teams (of 3 or 4) from any county or state may compete. Youth compete according to their age as of January 1st of the current year. Youth ages 8 to 10 compete as juniors; youth ages 11 to 13 compete as intermediates; and youth 14 to 18 compete as seniors.

The Maryland Sheep Breeders Association provides ribbons and premiums to the top ten individuals in each age division and festival t-shirts to the members of the top three teams in each age division. Additional awards are provided by the University of Maryland Extension Small Ruminant Program

Pre-registration of individuals and teams for the 2015 Junior Sheep & Goat Skillathon is requested by April 28. Teams must be pre-registered. Pre-register by sending names, ages, and team affiliations via e-mail to Susan Schoenian at sschoen@umd.edu or via fax at (301) 432-4089.

For more information, contact Susan at (301) 432-2767 x343 or visit the skillathon web site at http://www.sheepandgoat.com/programs/skillathon/skillathon.html.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

FAMACHA Workshop To Be Held at Festival

Bottle jaw
A FAMACHA©workshop will be held Friday, May 1 at the Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. The workshop will be held in barn 7-9 at the Howard County Fairgrounds in West Friendship.

All aspects of internal parasite control will be covered in the workshop.The 4-hour workshop will consist of 2 hours of lecture/discussion and 2 hours of hands-on activity (FAMACHA© scoring and fecal egg counting). The instructor will be Susan Schoenian, Sheep & Goat Specialist for University of Maryland Extension.

The registration fee is $50 per person, family, or farm. It includes a laminated FAMACHA© card and booklet of reference materials.

Go to the Festival web site to register online.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Scrapie Update

 Since the beginning of FY 2015, 29 sheep have tested positive for scrapie; 26 of these positives were from the same source flock. Two goats have tested for positive --both from the same herd. The most recent positive case was confirmed on February 18, 2015.

Since the beginning of FY 2015,12,683 sheep and 3,325 goats have been tested for scrapie. In November 2014, the first positive goat found through slaughter surveillance was identified. Based on the goats sampled at slaughter to date, the prevalence of scrapie in U.S. cull goats is 0.004 percent.

To report a sheep or goat with clinical signs of scrapie, please contact your local VS office.  To learn more about scrapie, the disease, and the national scrapie eradication program visit the APHIS VS Scrapie Website and www.eradicatescrapie.org.

View February monthly scrapie report via PowerPoint

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Pasture Management Webinars: Follow-up Survey

If  you participated in the 2015 Pasture Management for Small Ruminant Webinar Series, recently hosted by University of Maryland Extension (Susan Schoenian & Jeff Semler), please complete this short survey. Your answers will help us to improve educational offerings for small ruminant producers.

http://www.surveyshare.com/s/AYAWTGD 

Please complete the survey regardless of whether you participated live or watched the recordings. You may complete the survey at a later time, if you haven't had a chance to view all the videos -- or you are waiting for the YouTube videos, soon to be available via the Maryland Extension Small Ruminant Program YouTube channel.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Webinar Recordings: Pasture Management

The title of the 2015 Winter Webinar Series was Pasture Management for Small Ruminant Producers. The webinars were held on consecutive Wednesday evenings in February and March. 

All of the webinars were recorded. They have been minimally edited and made public for viewing. Links to the recordings are available at http://www.sheepandgoat.com/recordings.html#pasture. There are also links to the PowerPoint presentations.
  1. Planning a pasture system
  2.  Pasture plants, including alternative forages
  3. Pasture and grazing management
  4. Pasture nutrition
  5. Pasture health
These and previous webinars are in the process of being converted to YouTube videos. The aforementioned page will have links to the YouTube videos. The videos can also be accessed from the Maryland Small Ruminant Extension Program YouTube Channel. Be sure to subscribe to the YouTube channel so we can get a "friendly" (custom) url.

All webinar recordings and links

Friday, March 20, 2015

Increased Demand at Easter

The demand for kid (goat) and especially lamb increases prior to the Easter holidays. Easter is a Christian feast commemorating the Resurrection of Jesus after his crucifixion.

Hothouse lamb in NYC
Western Christian churches and Eastern Orthodox Christian churches use different calendars (Gregorian vs. Julian) to determine the date of Easter. Sometimes, the two Easters fall on the same day. Sometimes, they are more than a month apart.  This year, Roman (Western) Easter and Greek (Eastern Orthodox) Easter are only one week apart. Roman Easter is on April 5, while Greek Easter is on April 12.

The demand for kid and lamb is usually stronger for Eastern Orthodox Easter. Eastern Orthodox Christians come from a variety of ethnic backgrounds: Greek, Russian, Egyptian, Romanian, Serbian, Ukrainian, Armenian, Bulgarian, Georgian, Albanian, Ethiopian, Syrian, and American.

The type of lamb or kid preferred for the Easter holiday is usually a "hothouse" lamb or kid.  Hothouse lambs are young, milk-fed lambs weighing between 30 and 50 lbs (live). Certain breeds are more suitable to be sold as hothouse lambs, including Southdown, Dorset, Dorper, Cheviot, etc. Large frame breeds and hair sheep aren't as suitable for the Easter hothouse market, as they don't have as much fleshing at the light weights at which they'd be sold.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Goat AI Short Course in North Carolina

North Carolina State University will be holding a Goat Artificial Insemination (AI) Short Course on August 10-12, 2015, at the Small Ruminant Educational Unit on the North Campus of North Carolina State University in Raleigh, North Carolina.

The 3-day short course is designed to provide participants with both theoretical background and significant opportunity for hands-on practice needed to facilitate the adoption of artificial insemination into their goat breeding programs. With the use of improved transcervical AI breeding techniques for goats, pregnancy rates comparable to those routinely achieved for AI in cattle are now possible.

The short course will consist of an initial series of lectures on Monday morning coupled with four hands-on practice sessions (Monday pm, Tuesday am & pm, and Wednesday am). Lecture topics will include anatomy & physiology of the female reproductive tract, estrous & ovulation synchronization, AI breeding techniques (standard and improved), and the use of frozen semen for AI.

For more information and to register online, go to:
http://www.cals.ncsu.edu/ncsugoatAI/.

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