Thursday, November 13, 2014

2015 Maryland Buck Test

Several changes will be implemented for the 2015 Western Maryland Pasture-Based Meat Goat Performance Test. The purpose of the changes is to get better growth rates (ADG) and produce a bigger (heavier) buck at the end of the test, while still being able to effectively evaluate the bucks for parasite resistance and resilience.

The test will start and end later. Bucks should be delivered to the test site on Friday, June 26. The goats will have a 13-day adjustment period. Starting weights will be recorded on July 9 and 10. The later starting date will allow the goats to graze the warm season annual grasses and legumes upon arrival. The test will last for 84 days. Midway through the test, the goats will be switched to the cool season grass paddocks. Final data will be collected on October 1.

The test bucks will be supplemented with soybean hulls throughout the test. Supplementation will begin during the adjustment period and will be gradually increased until it reaches 0.75 lbs. per day or approximately 1.5 percent of  body weight. Data from last year's test showed that the goats' pasture diet was deficient in energy.

You can use the test data to select a parasite-resistant buck.

The 10 top-performing bucks will be recognized.  As in previous years, the primary performance criteria will be growth (ADG), parasite resistance (fecal egg counts), and parasite resilience (FAMACHA© scores and anthelmintic treatments).  Other criteria will include WDA, ultrasound data, scrotal circumference, teat structure, and hoof structure.

The nomination period for the 2015 test will be April 15 through June 1. Eligible bucks must be born between January 1 and March 15, 2015, and weigh a minimum of 40 lbs. Any breed or breed cross is eligible, with our without registration eligibility. A farm may consign up to five goats to the test.  A maximum of 80 goats will be accepted for the 2015 test.

The total fee for testing a buck will be $120, which includes a $20/head nomination fee. Discounted fees will be offered to Maryland residents and consignors who consign five half-sibs (bucks with same sire) or whose herds are enrolled in the National Sheep Improvement Program (NSIP), a quantitative genetic evaluation program that calculates EBVs (estimated breeding values) for and meat goats (and sheep)..

2015 will be the 10th 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. Please direct any questions about the 2015 test to Susan Schoenian at (301) 432-2767 x343 or

Read full entry from Meat Goat Test Blog

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