Tuesday, June 14, 2011

6th year of Maryland pasture goat test

Ninety-one (91) bucklings were delivered to the Western Maryland Research & Education Center in Keedysville, MD on June 1-4. Eighty (80) will participate in the 2011 Western Maryland Pasture-Based Meat Goat Performance Test. Eleven (11) will be penned and fed for carcass evaluation.

It is the 6th year of the Maryland test, with the most-ever goats. This year's 91 goats came from twenty-three consigners, representing eleven states.  Maryland has the most participation, with 19 goats from 6 consigners.

While Kiko-influenced goats dominate the test, this year's test includes a variety of breeds and breed crosses:  Boer, Kiko, Myotonic, Savanna, and Spanish.

Goats grazing cool season grass pasture.

While on test, the goats will be evaluated for growth, parasite resistance (fecal egg counts), parasite resilience (FAMACHA© scores) and carcass merit.  The top-performing bucks will be sold via silent auction on September 24 at the 2011 Western Maryland Goat Field Day & Sale near Boonsboro.

The goats will consume a pasture-only diet while on test.  The penned goats will be fed a diet of hay and grain.  They will be harvested, along with 10 goats from the pasture test, in order to compare the carcasses and meat quality from pasture vs. grain-fed goats.

For more information about the test, visit the blog at http://mdgoattest.blogspot.com.

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