Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Adjusting fecal egg counts

worm eggs (image source: WormBoss)
Fecal moisture can have a significant effect on the worm egg count (eggs per gram of feces) using standard techniques.

Vets and others experienced with diagnosing gastro-intestinal parasitism will often make a mental adjustment of FEC based on fecal consistency. For example, "This sheep has an epg of 700, but it's scouring, so the 'real' egg count might be 1500-2000."

Because of possible (significant) effects on decision points for treatment, estimated breeding values, and categorizing anthelmintics in fecal egg count reduction tests, there is a good case for including a fecal consistency score and moisture adjusted worm egg count as a standard practice in parasitology labs.

Source: WormMail []

Note: There will be an all-day fecal egg counting workshop at the Western Maryland Research & Education Center on Saturday, June 16, 2007. Further information will be posted at a later date to this blog and to the Maryland Small Ruminant web site.

Half sheep, half man

A research scientist at the University of Nevada's School of Medicine has successfully created the world's first "human-sheep chimera", which has the body of a sheep, but half-human organs.

Professor Esmail Zanjani has spent seven years and nearly $10 million perfecting the technique, which involves injecting adult human cells into a sheep's fetus. The resulting "chimera" has 15 percent human cells and 85 percent animal cells.

Its evolution may eventually make it possible to use animal organs for human transplant surgeries. Professor Zanjani also hopes to eventually inject human stem cells from a patient in need of a transplant into a sheep fetus. When the lamb is born two months later it would have "partly human organs" that can be used for a transplant.

Source: Press TV, March 27, 2007

Note: Each day, 19 people die waiting for a donated organ (OrganDonor.Gov)

Monday, March 26, 2007

Marketing lambs and kids at Easter

lambsAmong some religions and cultures, lamb and goat are favored meats at Easter time. This year, Eastern Orthodox (Greek) and Western (Roman) Easter will be on the same day: April 8. Next year, they will be over a month apart.

Orthodox Easter is usually later than Western Easter, because the date is calculated differently. Eastern Orthodox Christians come from a variety of ethnic backgrounds: Greek, Russian, Egyptian, Romanian, Serbian, Ukrainian, Armenian, Bulgarian, Georgian, Albanian, Ethiopian, Syrian, and American.

What do the markets want?
According to, the type of lamb wanted at Western Easter is 30 to 45 lbs. live weight, milk fed, and fat. A slightly larger lamb is prefereed for Greek Easter, 40 to 50 lbs. live weight.

For Western Easter, goats should be less than 3 months of age, 20 to 50 lbs. live weight. ~30 lbs. is optimal for most buyers. A slightly larger milk-fed kid is preferred for Greek Easter, ~35 lbs.

For Passover, which is April 3-10, a 30 to 50 lb. milk-fed, fat lamb is preferred by buyers. The next Muslim holiday is Mawlid al-Nabi, the Prophet Muhammad's birthday. It is March 31.

When should you sell?
It can be a challenge to know when the best time to sell lambs and kids for the Easter holidays is. To help guide you in this decision, take a look at the New Holland market reports from last year's holiday season, in which Western Easter was on April 16 and Greek Easter was April 23.

March 12, 2006 | March 29, 2006 | March 26, 2006 | April 3, 2006 | April 10, 2006 | April 17, 2006 | April 24, 2006

In 2006, a record-setting sheep and lamb sale drew nearly 4,000 head to New Holland's last big sale before Roman Easter, which depressed prices. Goat prices were also lower. Prices rebounded the week after Roman Easter, but preceeding Greek Easter.

Lamb and goat prices are affected by both supply and demand factors. While demand increases at Easter, a large supply can also depress prices in some markets.

You can post a listing of lambs and kids that you have for sale at Easter at Click on Market Inquiries, then Easter Holiday listings.

Ethnic holiday calendar (2006-2010)
Ethnic holiday calendar at

Monday, March 19, 2007

Goat Dairy Library

bulk tank for goat milk
Goat Dairy Library is a Wisconsin-based library that holds information for setting up and managing a commercial goat dairy. Materials are extracted from professional articles, journals and books, and from interviews with experienced goat milk producers.

The site is arranged so that readers can quickly find a topic, scan the best information currently available, and locate links.. Wherever possible, the entries are followed by a short citation, which corresponds to a full entry in the site bibliography.

The Table of Contents page lists all of the topics and sub-sections on the site, with direct links to the material. "What's New?" has an events calendar, notice of news and new research findings, and announcements about new material on this site.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Wool and Grain LDP Preparation

unloading wool at the Maryland Wool Pool
Wool and grain producers need to remember that if they plan to apply for loan deficiency payments (LDPs) for wool, unshorn pelts, and/or grain crops, it's important to complete the CCC 633-EZ page one before losing beneficial interest in the commodity.

Producers should complete page one of the EZ form as soon as possible for their current crop year wool, unshorn pelts, and grain crops. After page one is completed, producers can request benefits at any time during the period that loans or LDPs are available, before or after losing beneficial interest.

The CCC-633 EZ simplifies requests for LDPs for wool, mohair, and unshorn pelts. Page four of the revised EZ form is specifically for wool and mohair producers to request an LDP.

Source: Washington Co. News, Farm Service Agency, February 2007.

Wool and Mohair Marketing Loan and LDP Program
CCC 633-EZ form
Instructions for filling out CCC 633-EZ

East Region LDP rates

Thursday, March 8, 2007

New Holland Weighted Average Report

goats at New Holland
The market report for the weekly sheep and goat auction at the New Holland (PA) Sales Stables is available on the Internet in a new, much improved format. Prices are listed in table format for each grade and class of sheep and goats. The table includes number of head, weight range, price range, and average price. Sheep weights are actual. Goat weights are estimated. Sheep and lambs are sold by the pound. Goats are still sold by the head.

The market report also gives price trends and number of sheep/goat receipts for the sale reported, the sale the previous week, and the sale the previous year at the same time. According to the market news reporter, the New Holland report is a "work in progress."

Search for USDA market reports
USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) web site has a search engine that allows you to find past USDA market reports. The url for the search engine is Alternatively, you can click on SEARCH from the menu bar of the AMS web site.

Where the search page asks for "Enter your query," you type #filename, followed by the space bar, then the number of the report you are looking for. A report's number is listed in the top left hand corner of the online version of the report. For example, the number of the New Holland Sheep & Goat Weighted Average Report is LN_LS322.TXT.