Friday, December 10, 2010

From Start to Finish

Meat goat producers from eight states recently gathered for the rare opportunity to learn the process of grading live goats, watch a goat harvest, and evaluate whole carcasses ready for market.  Participants followed two goats – one grass-fed and one grain-fed – from start to finish.

Dr. Bob Herr, owner of Nix Besser Livestock Co, in Narvon, PA, a livestock dealer and order buyer of sheep and goats at the New Holland Sales Stables taught the group how to separate goats into three grades: Selection 1-3. He said, "the arm muscle is an indicator of muscle the rest of the way down."

According to Herr, there is no one size goat that is perfect for every holiday, because different ethnic groups require different goat sexes and size.  However, he says, “an 80-lb. billy is hard to beat.”  Herr recommends taking goats to market the week before a holiday.

“A lot of people pride themselves on having all pasture-fed goats, but putting them on grain a little will bring you double at the sale barn,” Herr said.  In contrast, he said most high-placing show goats are over-finished.  According to Herr, “there is no one right way to raise goats."

The workshop was held at LambCo, LLC, a USDA/custom slaughter facility in New Windsor, Maryland.  It was sponsored by the MPWV Meat Goat Producers Association.   According to President Pam Adams, MPWV works very hard to bring programs to producers to add value to their goats. For more information about MPWV, contact Pam at (410) 549-2539.

Source:  Lancaster Farming, Southern Edition, November 20, 2010

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