Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Annaul PA Ram & Buck Sale

Pennsylvania's Annual Ram Lamb and Meat Goat Buck Sale will be held Saturday, August 2, 2014, at the Pennsylvania Livestock Evaluation Center in PA Furnace, Pennsylvania. The sale will also include ewes and does.

The sale is a culmination of a 77-day test program for rams and a 70-day test program for bucks. Throughout the tests, the rams were self-fed a textured 16% crude protein feed. Bucks were self-fed a pelleted 16% crude protein feed. Performance was ranked by index.

The sale will be preceded by the PA Sheep & Goat field Day, which will consist of an informational program and Junior Shepherds' Skillathon. The sale will get underway at 1 p.m.

For information and photos, visit www.livestockevaluationcenter.com. For more information, call (814) 238-2527.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Summer 2014 Wild & Woolly

The Summer 2014 issue of Wild & Woolly has been posted to the web. Wild & Woolly is a newsletter for sheep and goat producers and anyone else interested in small ruminants. It is published quarterly by University of Maryland Extension and the Western Maryland Research & Education Center.

Read about "Green Goats" in the current issue.
You can subscribe to the newsletter listserv, so you'll receive an e-mail message when a new issue of the newsletter has been posted to the web. To subscribe, send an e-mail message to listserv@listserv.umd.edu. In the body of the message, write subscribe sheepandgoatnews.

Mailed copies of the newsletter (4/year) are available for a cost recovery fee of $10/year. Checks payable to the University of Maryland should be sent to:  Sheep/Goat Newsletter, Western Maryland Research & Education Center, 18330 Keedysville Road, Keedysville, MD  21756.

HTML version of Summer 2014 issue
PDF (printer-friendly) version of Summer 2014
Archive of previous issues

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Improving Parasite Resilience

by Ken Turner
USDA ARS, El Reno, Oklahoma

Establishing and maintaining legumes in pastures improves protein levels in the diet of grazing livestock.  In addition, legumes generally have higher levels of several minerals (calcium, copper, magnesium, phosphorus and zinc) in comparison to grasses.  These minerals can help maintain a healthy immune system in animals and thus improve tolerance to GI parasites.

Maintaining forages with high nutritive value (including increased protein levels by utilizing legumes in pastures) helps to increase resilience in sheep and goats to GI parasites.  When grazing sheep and goats on pasture, resilience can be defined as the animal’s ability to tolerate higher GI parasite burdens and still remain productive (gain weight; produce milk).

In a 2012 study, meat goat kids grazing alfalfa or red clover (legumes, high protein) pastures gained more weight compared to goat kids grazing orchardgrass pasture despite an increasing fecal egg count in all animals.  Meat-goat kids grazing alfalfa or red clover appeared to be more resilient to GI parasites than goat kids grazing orchardgrass. 

Use of legume pastures and use of rotational stocking grazing management can provide herbages with high protein and energy levels, helping reduce effects from GI parasitism (especially Haemonchus) in sheep and goats.

Read full article at wormx.info

Monday, July 7, 2014

Sheep Farms with Footrot Needed

The University of Maine Cooperative Extension is seeking sheep farms with footrot to participate in an applied research project funded by Northeast SARE.  The project is in its 4th year and has already gathered data from approximately 1,000 sheep in the northeast.  The researchers are seeking data from additional flocks to determine if a genetic marker can be identified for possible resistance to the footrot. 

Sheep farms with footrot from the following states are sought:  Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Massachusetts, Maryland, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, and West Virginia.

All information is confidential.

If you have footrot in your flock and would like to participate, please contact Principal Investigator Richard Brzozowski at richard.brzozowski@maine.edu or (207) 951-7155. 

All information about participating farms is confidential. For more information about the project and the protocol, see http://umaine.edu/sheep/.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Sheep Station Slated for Closure

On June 17, Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack announced to Congress that he would close the US Sheep Experiment Station in Dubois, Idaho. Vilsack's letter said the station would close November 3. Congress has 30 days to react to Vilsack's decision. The clock starting ticking on June 20.

The American Sheep Industry Association (ASI) has expressed disappointment with the agency's decision to close the sheep experiment station, as well as the processes by which the decision was made public.

A grazing study
According to Congressman Mike Simpson (R-ID), "closure would have a substantial impact on the western sheep industry."  Simpson was concerned "that people in the industry were not consulted before ARS made the decision." If the station closes, 21 full-time employees would lose their jobs, which represents 5% of the full-time jobs in very rural Clark County, Idaho.

Western members of Congress have asked to stop closure of the station by disapproving ARS's request to reprogram the funds. Reprogramming funds would result in closure of the station.  According to Vilsack's letter, none of the station's reprogrammed budget would go towards sheep research.

The US Sheep Experiment Station is the sole research center dedicated to sheep. It was established in 1915 by President Woodrow Wilson. Sheep have grazed the same lands for almost 100 years. Over the years, the sheep station has done research vital to the sheep and range industry, including the development of three commercially-important breeds (Columbia, Targhee, and Polypay) and various long-term grazing studies.

In recent years, the sheep station has been plagued by lawsuits by animal rights activists and environmental groups, who are concerned because ONE grizzly bear died at the station. At the same time, continuous underfunding of the station has reduced the number of scientists and the research that they are able to do.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Virtual Toolbox for Small Ruminant Producers

Farmers and Extension educators have an expansive new resource available to them in the Small Ruminant Toolbox. The toolbox is a collection of practical, proven materials covering a wide variety of topics, including pasture and herd management, marketing, pest management, qual ity of life and whole-farm sustainability.

The toolbox includes guidance on how to structure a workshop, dozens of PowerPoint presentations, and other materials. Well-received courses such as the Tennessee Master Meat Goat Producer Program, a 978-page Small Ruminant Resource Manual and the Small Ruminant Sustainability Checksheet are also included.

The 60-page Small Ruminant Sustainability Checksheet helps farmers adjust their practices to the changing realities of the marketplace and their farm. It is the center piece of the toolbox

Toolbox materials are free to access online or can be purchased on a USB flash drive at www.sare.org/ruminant-toolbox.


Thursday, June 26, 2014

Upcoming FAMACHA© Workshop

There will be an Integrated Parasite Management (IPM/FAMACHA©) Workshop on Saturday, July 19, 2014, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m, at the Montgomery County Extension Office in Derwood, Maryland.

Poor FAMACHA© score
The 4-hour workshop will include 2 hours of lecture and discussion and 2 hours of hands-on activity:  FAMACHA© scoring and fecal egg counting. The instructor is Susan Schoenian. Participants will become certified in the use of the FAMACHA© eye anemia system. The FAMACHA© system, along with the Five Point Check©, is used to determine if a sheep, goat, or camelid requires deworming.

To register for the workshop, contact the Montgomery County Extension Office at (301) 590-9638 or dgordon3@umd.edu. The registration deadline is Monday, July 14. The registration fee is $40 per person, family, or farm. Checks should be made payable to Montgomery County EAC and sent to the Montgomery County Extension Office, 18410 Muncaster Road, Derwood, Maryland 20855.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Goat Twilight Tour & Tasting

The second annual Goat Twilight Tour & Tasting will be held on Thursday, July 31, from 5:30 p.m. to dark, at the University of Maryland’s Western Maryland Research & Education Center in Keedysville.

In addition to wagon tours of the goat test facility and research program, there will be an opportunity to taste recipes prepared with goat meat (chevon). The recipes will be prepared by a local chef.

Goat tasting at last year's event

Pre-registration (free) is required. To pre-register, contact Pam Thomas at 301-432-2767 x315 or pthomas@umd.edu. The deadline for registration is July 21.

The Western Maryland Research & Education is the location of the Western Maryland Pasture-Based Meat Goat Performance Test. This year, there are 77 bucks (mostly Kiko) on test. The tour will also showcase the Center’s pen vs. pasture study, a four-year project in which the performance and carcass characteristics of pen-fed and pasture-raised goats are being compared.

The Twilight Tour & Tasting is sponsored by the Maryland Grain Producers Utilization Board, which funds the pen vs. pasture study.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Recordings of NSIP Webinars

The 6-part webinar series on the National Sheep Improvement Program (NSIP) concluded on June 5. The webinar series was hosted by University of Maryland Extension.

All of the webinars have been edited and made public for viewing. The PowerPoint presentations that accompany the webinars have been uploaded to SlideShare. For links to the recordings and presentations, go to http://www.sheepandgoat.com/recordings.html#NSIP. The recordings are in the process of being converted to YouTube videos and other user-friendly formats.

NSIP is a quantitative genetic evaluation program for sheep and goat producers. NSIP calculates EBVs (estimated breeding values). An EBV is an estimate of an animal's genetic worth and a prediction of its offspring's future performance.

All "serious" sheep producers should listen to the first webinar by Dr. Robert Banks (University of New England-Australia).  All "serious" goat producers should listen to the second webinar by Dr. Ken Andries (Kentucky State University).

Producers who show their livestock are encouraged to listen to Bill Schultz's webinar. After years of showing sheep, Bill converted to a performance-based flock.


Friday, June 6, 2014

Western Maryland Buck Test Underway

Seventy-seven bucklings started the 2014 Western Maryland Pasture-Based Meat Goat Performance Test. The bucks were consigned by 23 producers from 13 states. 79 bucks had been accepted for the test. 101 had been originally nominated.

Almost all the bucks are Kiko. There are a few crosses and one Boer buck. After a short adjustment period, starting weights were determined on June 5-6 The bucks ranged in weight from 35.2 to 69.2 lbs. and averaged averaged 47.3 ± 7.3 lbs. The median starting weight was 45.9 lbs.

77 bucks are in the test
The bucks will consume a pasture only diet for 84 days. Final weights will be determined August 28 and 29. While on test, the bucks will be evaluated for growth, parasite resistance, and parasite resilience, and other traits. Gold, Silver, and Bronze-performing bucks will be sold at the Bluegrass Performance Invitational on September 6 in Frankfort, Kentucky.

This is the 9th year of the Western Maryland Pasture-Based Meat Goat Performance Test which is conducted at the University of Maryland's Western Maryland Research & Education Center in Keedysville, Maryland.

You can follow the progress of the test by going to the blog at http://mdgoattest.blogspot.com.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Goat AI Course in North Carolina

A three-day short course on goat artificial insemination is scheduled for Aug. 11-13 at North Carolina State University in Raleigh, North Carolina.

The course will feature presentations by faculty members from North Carolina State University and North Carolina A&T State University. It is designed to provide participants with the background and hands-on practice needed to include artificial insemination in goat breeding programs.

Morning lectures will be followed by afternoon hands-on practice sessions. Topics to be covered include anatomy and physiology of the female reproductive tract, estrous synchronization, ovulation synchronization, AI breeding techniques (standard and improved), use of fresh, chilled and frozen semen and management considerations including record keeping systems, facilities requirements and pre- and post-breeding management.

The registration cost is $400 until July 21 and $450 after that date. Registration fee includes refreshment breaks, daily lunch, course manual and CD, transportation to/from host hotel and all course venues or parking passes for personal vehicles. The course coordinator is Dr. Charlotte Farin, professor of animal science at North Carolina State University.

Course information, including course and hotel reservation information, is available online at http://www.cals.ncsu.edu/ncsugoatAI/ or

Monday, May 5, 2014

2014 Sheep & Goat Skillathon Results

For the second year in a row, the Junior Sheep & Goat Skillathon was swept by girls. The 1st place junior was Lizzy Miller from Montgomery County, Maryland. The 1st place intermediate was Mckenzie Ashby from Virginia. The 1st place senior was Lydia Smith from Vermont.

2014 winners (L-R):  Lizzy Miller, Mckenzie Ashby, and Lydia Smith.
The 2nd place junior was Chet Boden from Virginia. The 3rd place junior was Edy McDougal from Washington County. The top junior team was from Frederick County. Team members included Kiandra Strickhouser, Jessica Martin, and Caroline Clark. Washington County had the second place junior team: Edey McDougal, Marlie Snyder, and Addison Snyder.

Second place intermediate Kallam Latham tied for 1st place with 433 points; the tie was broken by written test scores. Kallam was last year's top junior. The 3rd place junior was Caleb Boden from Virginia. The top intermediate team was from Virginia. Team  members included Caleb Boden, Haley Seabright, and Mckenzie Ashby. The second place intermediate team was from Frederick County:  Kallam Latham, Kariana Strickhouser, and Laura Dutton.

Only one point separated the first and second place seniors. Emily Soils from Charles County, Maryland, placed 2nd. John Hancock, also from Charles County, placed 3rd. Brietta Latham, last year's top intermediate placed 4th.The top senior team was from Virginia. Team members included Courtney Walls, Matt Ferrari, and Evan Lineweaver. Frederick County has the second place senior team:  Brietta Latham, Ian Sanville, and Ray Martin IV.

The ten top individuals from each age category received a premium and ribbon from the Maryland Sheep Breeders Association. Members of the top three teams received festival t-shirts.  The top individual in each age category received awards provided by the University of Maryland Extension Small Ruminant Program.

This was the first year in which goats were added to the skillathon stations. The name of the Skillathon was changed from Sheep & Wool to Sheep & Goat.

The Sheep & Goat Skillathon is held at the Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival. For more information, visit the skillathon web page at http://www.sheepandgoat.com/programs/skillathon/skillathon.html.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Katahdin is most popular sheep breed

In 2013, Katahdins surpassed Suffolks as the most popular breed of sheep in the United States, as measured by registrations and transfers. In fact, the Suffolk breed slipped to #3. Hampshires are the second most commonly registered sheep breed.  Dorsets, Dorpers, and Southdowns round out the top six.


Transfers, which are an indication of sales, movement, and growth of a breed, were also tops in the Katahdin breed. Hampshires had the second most transfers, followed by Dorpers, Dorsets, Suffolks, and Southdowns.


The Katahdin is a hair sheep developed in Maine in the 1950's. They are an easy-care breed that doesn't  require shearing, crutching, and tail docking. They are more resistant to gastro-intestinal parasites than other breeds and excel in reproductive traits, such as fertility, prolificacy, mothering ability, and milk production.

At one time, there were three times as many Suffolks registered as any other breed. In terms of purebred registrations, Southdowns have probably been the most consistent breed over time.

Source: Director's Corner, Katahdin Hairald,Spring 2014.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Missed the Grazing Webinar - See it Online

Managing Your Pastures Better: Management Intensive Grazing 101 was presented by host Jay Parsons, Ph.D., of Colorado State University and Optimal Ag Consulting, and Woody Lane, Ph.D., of Lane Livestock Services, on April 22 in cooperation with the American Sheep Industry Association and the Rebuild the Sheep Inventory Committee. The event was attended by 135 people representing 34 states and one Canadian province.

Comments like "This was a great topic for everyone who raises animals. I learned several things from Dr. Lane that I can put into practice immediately to improve my sheep grazing. Thank you." were received.

If you missed the webinar, the recording is available at www.optimalag.com/webinars/2014-04-22_MIG101.wmv and a copy of the presentation slides can be accessed at www.optimalag.com/webinars/2014-04-22_MIG101.pdf.

Mark your calendar for the following future webinars - Aug. 26, Dan Morrical, Ph.D., Iowa State University, Nutrition and Sept. 23, Richard Ehrhardt, Ph.D., Michigan State University, Accelerated Lambing.