Presentation on theme: "This presentation was given at the International Goat Symposium in Lindsay, Ontario, Canada on September 19, 2007. Profits Through Genetics."— Presentation transcript:
This presentation was given at the International Goat Symposium in Lindsay, Ontario, Canada on September 19, Profits Through Genetics
Genetic Improvement Through Central Buck Testing Lessons and Opportunities Susan Schoenian Sheep and Goat Specialist Western Maryland Research & Education Center University of Maryland Cooperative Extension
Which buck is better? Yes, but whats your average daily gain and how many times have you been dewormed? Im a pretty boy! You cant judge a book by its cover.
The U.S. Meat Goat Industry Lags behind other animal industries in the use of performance records. Selection decisions are made primarily on the basis of appearance.
Methods of genetic improvement On-farm performance record keeping Adjusted weights, ratios, indexes Central performance testing Ram, buck, bull, and boar tests Progeny Central performance record keeping BLUP -- EPDs and EBVs Across herd, across breed
Central Performance Testing "A central performance test is where animals from different herds are brought to one central location where performance is recorded. The rationale is that observed differences are more likely due to genetic differences, which will be passed onto offspring, rather than environmental differences, which will not be passed onto offspring. The goal of a central performance test is to identify genetic differences among animals." -- Dr. Dan Waldron, Texas A&M University
Western Maryland Pasture-Based Meat Goat Performance Test Established in 2006 Up to 50 male goats Pasture-only diet 1 Graze early-June through early-October (~112 days) Collect data on growth, parasite resistance and resilience, and carcass merit drought necessitated use of nutritional tubs and hay.
Resources for test Pasture 10-acre pasture system Divided into five 2-acre paddocks Cool season grass pastures: Max Q tall fescue, orchardgrass, and chicory. Warm season grass: field of pearl millet added in 2007 (~1.5 additional acres). Fencing Perimeter fencing: 6-strand, high-tensile, electric. Interior fencing: 2 to 4 strand electric. Pearl millet fenced with electric netting.
Resources for test Central laneway 3 port-a-hut shelters Two mineral feeders Water troughs Handling system with work platform
Test requirements: goats Male goats (bucks or wethers) Any breed or cross Born between December 15 and March 15 Vaccinated two times for CD-T. Weaned for at least 2 weeks prior to test. Hooves in condition to stand in foot bath. Free from contagious diseases. Appropriate size (weight) for age. National scrapie ID. Health papers.
Results: Participation No. goats at start 3548 No. goats at end 3147 Bucks 3140 Wethers 07 No. of consigners 810 No. of states 65 Kiko, Boer, Kiko x Boer, dairy x meat
Results: parasite resilience Anthelmintic treatments 2006 – 1.65 treatments per goat 2007 – 0.09 treatments per goat
Parasite resistance Ability of host to prevent infection Fecal samples collected from rectum of each goat. 0 days 28 days 56 days 96 days (2007) Fecal egg count (FEC) determined using modified McMaster technique. Eggs per gram (EPG)
Results: parasite resistance Fecal egg counts – eggs per gram LowHighAvg.LowHighAvg. Day Day Day Day
General health and thriftiness Goats have been treated for: Fever Respiratory symptoms Ear infections Scours Bloat Lice
Zero tolerance for CL caseous lymphadenitis Goats with abscesses are isolated for testing or sent home. Abscesses are lanced and tested. Goats with CL are sent home or to market. Goats with non-CL abscesses can return to the test. Non-CL abscess
What it costs to run Annual costs Fertilization program for pasture Pasture renovation Fencing repairs Anthelmintics and other medicine Fecal testing Ultrasound scanning Daily goat care Miscellaneous
Current funding Producers pay a testing fee of $75 per goat $20 due at time of nomination. Balance ($55) due when goats are delivered to test site. Grant funds have paid for shelters, handling system, some fencing, and two years of labor. In 2007, producers were able to consign additional goats for $30 per goat in order to meet the goal of having 50 goats in the test. Two 4-H consigners paid a reduced fee of $50 per goat to have their goats tested.
Challenges Must have the right person taking care of the goats. The test needs to pay for itself. Getting enough goats for test. Getting producers to understand and use performance data when buying and/or selecting meat goats.
Opportunities Most meat goat producers do not understand how to make genetic improvement in their herds. Most meat goat producers do not value performance testing. Most meat goat producers do not understand central performance testing. Boer goat breeders are less interested in performance testing (on pasture) than Kiko breeders. Im not just a pretty boy.
Opportunities It will take years to develop this performance testing program and for it to gain acceptance among the widespread meat goat industry.