The reason I am willing to take on these additional responsibilities for the next four months is because I wish to see the efforts of the program extend further south. In addition, I want to identify ways the states can work together after the grant expires on January 21, 2003.
The goal of the Northeast Sheep and Goat Marketing Program has been to improve sheep and goat marketing infrastructure in the northeastern United States (12 states). The program was developed by a USDA grant received by Cornell University. Funds for the grant were made available to the industry as a result of efforts by the American Sheep Industry Association (ASI) to reduce the quantity of lamb imported into the U.S.
Program accomplishments have included regional marketing conferences (with three more to be held), development of pilot marketing projects, development of a sheep and goat marketing web page (sheepgoatmarketing.org), press releases related to market ing, and design of a restraining system for religious (Kosher and Halal) slaughter.
If you would like to learn more about the Northeast Sheep & Goat Marketing Project and/or sheep and goat marketing in the Northeast, please contact me at (301) 432-2767 extension 343 or email@example.com. I am eager to speak to sheep and/or goat producer groups to explain the marketing program and ways of extending its impacts beyond the grant period. I am especially interested in finding ways that producers and states can work together to more effectively market their animals.
Area Agent, Sheep and Goats
The conference will be repeated at three locations. In addition to the Maryland location, the same conference will be held Saturday, November 2 at Virginia State University in Petersburg, VA, and on Saturday, November 23 in western North Carolina. Pre-registration is required one week in advance of the conference you will be attending. The registration deadline for the Maryland conference is November 29. The cost of attending is $20 per person and includes lunch and handouts. Checks should be made payable to the University of Maryland and sent to Susan Provost, Western Maryland Research & Education Center, 18330 Keedysville Road, Keedysville, MD 21756.
Here is a preliminary schedule of events (highlights only):
All Week (Sun, Oct 13- Sat, Oct. 19)
For more information about any aspect of the ADGA Convention, please contact Joan Vandergriff at (913) 301-3787 or firstname.lastname@example.org or Bonnie Kempe at (304) 258-3944 or email@example.com.
As demand for sheep milk and cheeses increases, dairy sheep breeds are becoming better established in North America, improving rural economies. "The Great Lakes Dairy Sheep Symposium is the unique annual event for transmitting information among dairy sheep farmers and sheep-cheese makers," says Michael Thonney, Cornell professor of animal science.
The registration fee for the symposium is $100, with a reduction to $75 for those joining DSANA ($50 annual membership), and a reduced fee of $60 for additional family or farm members attending the symposium.
The next meeting of the tri-state meat goat association will be Saturday, November 9 at Garrett College in McHenry (time to be announced). At the annual meeting in May, members decided to conduct three meetings per year, one in the fall, one in the late winter, along with the annual meeting. Plans are to combine an educational (or fun) program with the business meeting to encourage more producers to attend. The program for the November meeting will be announced. The membership voted to discontinue its sub-chapter status with the Midwest Meat Goat Association; however, a change in by-laws will need to be voted upon by the membership before this can officially happen. If the by-law change is approved, membership dues will be reduced to $20 after the first year, in which dues are $35 per family or farm.
For information, about the MD-PA-WV meat goat association, contact Willie Lantz at (301) 387-3331 or Walter Schoenian at (301) 689-9442.
Research was slow this summer because the does did not want to cooperate. We tried an out-of-season breeding trial in April and then again in June. The does did not come in heat/cycle. However, we also tried a Katahdin Hair sheep out-of-season breeding project in June at the same time as the June goat project and things seemed fine with the sheep. We still haven't figured out the goat problem unless it's the new parking lot lights they put up right next to our research barn messing up the goats.
For the sheep study, we took 36 Katahdins that had not seen or smelled a ram or buck for 4-6 weeks and separated them into 2 groups based on age and weight. One group received around 2 lbs of a control pelleted feed while the other group was fed a similar amount of a pelleted feed with MGA (melengestrol acetate) in it. MGA is known to induce estrus in wool sheep out-of-season and also to synchronize estrus during the breeding season. It's also used in cattle to keep heifers from cycling in the feedlot or to synchronize cows/heifers (when you stop feeding it they come into heat a few days later).
We fed the diets twice a day (around 1 lb each time) and gave them around 2 lb of alfalfa hay each a day. They were fed like this for 9 days, then they were mixed together, fed alfalfa and 1 lb of pellets and alfalfa hay a day and exposed to 2 rams (a Katahdin and a 75%Dorper/25% Katahdin) with different color marking harness on. We checked for breeding (colored marks on the rump of the females) twice a day for 10 days.
All of the ewes fed MGA were marked as bred by 10 days. Only 30% or less of the ones not fed MGA were marked, so the MGA was definitely needed to induce heat/estrus. We took a blood sample at around 40 days after marking to look at pregnancy rates, but the results were unclear, so we plan to check again when the pregnancies would be further along. With this hot, dry weather and the fact that MGA can sometimes cause sheep to come in heat without ovulating an egg to be fertilized when mated, I'm really not expecting much more than a total of 40% pregnancy rate.
The ewes not pregnant from this study and the 20 new ewes I'm buying from a very progressive, pro-active producer in Virginia (Martha Mewbourne) in October will go on a November breeding study in which I will breed to a Texel, Suffolk or hair sheep ram and compare offspring growth rates (and hopefully some carcass traits). So, even if we do not get 40% pregnancy rate from the out-of-season breeding research, the ewes will still get their chance to benefit sheep producers by being involved in research!
To begin, veterinarians are trained on a group of sheep in varying stages of anemia, the vets in turn train farm workers. Following this method, trained personnel can evaluate a lot of sheep quickly (500 in one hour) with a good raceway. Only sheep scoring in the color categories equated with packed cell volumes (indicative of red blood cell status) of less than 20 are dewormed. A field trial of 13 farms found that only 10% of a flock needed to be treated at any given time and fewer than 1% of the animals were seriously anemic.
A key element of the FAMACHA approach is that sheep which frequently score low, and so are especially prone to worm burden, be culled. Earlier investigations showed that 80% of the worms are carried by 20% of the animals in a flock. It was emphasized that this system, which is protected by copyright, is designed only for control of the Haemonchus worm, not other species which commonly also infect sheep and that training in eyelid color scoring is essential.
Editor's note: The FAMACHA© system is being field tested with goats in Oklahoma and Georgia. I'm planning to hold classes on FAMACHA and fecal egg counting in the future.
The first registered flock of Cormo sheep is now established in Taneytown, Maryland. Cedar Wool Farm joint venture has three partners, each with their own specialty purebred breed and some crosses. Evan and Margaret Blizzard have focused their interest in the Cormo sheep. Sheep from all over the country have made their way here to Maryland, with lines from as far away as California; the most recent from Idaho.
Ian Downie developed the breed with the aid of scientific help in Tasmania in the 1960's, crossing Superfine Saxon Merinos with Corriedales for the commercial market, filling a need for a more fertile, higher wool producing and larger framed sheep. This development made the Cormo a more versatile, dual-purpose breed. The breed made its way to the U.S. through Travis Jones who first brought them here in 1976. He imported 12-bred ewes and 2 stud rams from the I.K. Downie flock. Through him the breed was established in the U.S. and has continued to grow with the addition of semen available through the American Cormo Sheep Association.
Cormos are polled, open-faced and medium sized sheep with fine pure white wool. Mature ewes weigh between 140 and 165 pounds. They are easily managed and have high fertility, good herding and mothering instincts. The fleece is soft, dense, and high yielding white wool with microns ranging between 17 and. Rams can produce a skirted fleece between 10 and12 pounds, ewes 8 to 10. Their wool spins a nice soft "next to the skin" yarn ideal for baby blankets and sweaters. The fleece holds dye well and is also wonderful for felting. Cormo wool is often blended with Llama, Alpaca, Angora, and Mohair.
Sires have also been introduced to ewes in crossing to greatly improve the fleece qualities in commercial and in many spinning flocks. While there are still many sheep abroad, the Cormos are still relatively new in the U.S. and growing. Although not being promoted as a show type sheep in the U.S., but of economical value, they have been making their way to the show ring. Cormo fleeces have consistently finished high in competition with other fine wool breeds, winning top honors at this year's Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival.
For more information on Cormo sheep, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or 410-756-CDWF (2393). Anyone who is interested in the breed is welcome to join the discussion group at: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Am Cormo SheepAssoc. Also, come visit the American Cormo Sheep Breeders booth at the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival the first weekend in May each year at the Howard County Fairgrounds (http://www.sheepandwool.org).
Editor's note: Send an article (and photo) to the editor if you'd like to see your sheep or goat breed featured in a future issue of the newsletter.
Marketing animals raised on the UMES farm has the normal challenges of animal production marketing in addition to restrictions placed on us by the State of Maryland. Because animals produced on the farm are essentially state property, our University administrations says that they must be sold at auction. Prior to the Spring of 2000, the animals were sold exclusively at local auction houses at
unpredictably low prices (meaning that the prices we got were low or really low and you could never tell which it would be). Based on Agriculture Marketing class assignments at other universities, when I became co-advisor of the Animal and Poultry Science Club at UMES, I suggested that we have a student-run livestock auction. The Club had already had a similar idea, so a very ambitious president, Stacey Harley, worked with the farm manager and then farm supervisor and organized Club members to host the first UMES Animal and Poultry Science Club Livestock Auction.
The purpose of the Auction is to allow UMES students the experience of learning how tough marketing can be and how important it is to producers. It gives them a sense of pride in a job well done and a sense of ownership of something exciting. The students are not paid and do not get class credit as is done in other schools, although that might be a good thing to try in the future (create a Marketing class around the auction). They give up their time (a few weeks of prep work and at least one Saturday morning in the spring and fall) to ensure success.
The students advertise the auction, make flyers, distribute them, and help mail flyers. A student usually makes up the sales "catalog" for the auction and makes copies for the day of the sale. Students register people, run the animals through the ring, take the payments and help the buyers load their purchased animals. Of course, the Agriculture technicians (UMES livestock farm managers) are vital to the whole process, and the students are supervised by them very closely.
Students have even gotten the opportunity to bid on animals for their friends or someone who could not make the sale but could come to pick up their animals after the sale. The students did a great job following the criteria the buyer was looking for and staying within the price range for their buyers and learned what it would be like to be a professional "buyer". The whole auction is a great UMES student learning experience!
The first auction (in the spring) sold only the last year's kid crop and a few pigs. The first auction was such a success and the students enjoyed it so much that we had another one in the fall to sell some cattle and sheep as well as some goats. The next year, we continued the tradition and had both a spring and fall Auction. Animals bought at the auction – and their offspring – have done very well in local 4-H shows/fairs.
The auction is always hosted by UMES students, but the species sold and exact date varies depending upon what is available and when the majority of the students involved are available. The auctions have been in April (spring) and in October or November in the past. The date for this year's fall Auction is Saturday, November 2, 2002. For more information about the auction or to get put on a mailing list to receive the flyer announcing the auction and species to be sold, please call me at 410-651-6194, e-mail me at email@example.com. edu or write to: Niki Whitley, UMES Dept of Agriculture, Princess Anne, MD 21853.
Editor's note: According to Niki, the November auction will include meat goats, mostly high percentage Boer with a few registered animals, and Katahdin hair sheep, several registered ewe lambs and a ram lamb. A few adult does will also be sold.
Most producers, especially those in the eastern half of the United States, will opt for loan deficiency payments in lieu of taking out a marketing assistance loan. Producers are eligible to receive loan deficiency payments or "LDP's" if world wool prices fall below the loan rate. For example, if world wool prices are $0.25 per pound, producers may receive a $0.15 per pound loan deficiency payment ($0.40 - $0.25 = $0.15) for the wool they produce. There will also be a provision for the wool from unshorn lambs. The price that a producer receives for his or her wool has no bearing on the LDP rate; LDP's are based on the world wool price. A producer can increase his net income from wool by selling his wool for a higher price.
Producers must have "beneficial interest" in the wool in order to receive a loan deficiency payment or take out a marketing assistance loan. However, since most producers have already sheared their sheep and sold their 2002 wool clip, beneficial interest will not be required for 2002 payments. Producers must have sales receipts indicating the amount of wool they sold.
Details of the Wool and Mohair Program are still being worked out, and the regulations have not yet been published in the Federal Register. It is anticipated that the program will be announced sometime this fall, with a relatively short sign-up period (perhaps only 30 days). Producers will need to go to their local county FSA office to apply for either a marketing assistance loan or a loan deficiency payment.
Boer goats were added to the NAILE show line-up in 2000. This year's show for Percentage (½ to 7/8 blood) and Fullblood (15/16 to fullblood) Boer does and bucks will be held on Thursday, Nov. 21. The Dairy goat show features six breed competitions totaling over 500 entries.
The annual NAILE is held at the Kentucky Fair & Exposition Center in Louisville, KY. The facility has 1,000,000 square feet of climate-controlled exhibit space that is used to house the nearly 22,000 livestock entries from across the U.S. and Canada, which compete for a total of $650,000 in premiums and awards at the world's largest purebred livestock show.
The lack of well defined, distinct meat goat breeds and their respective breed associations in the U.S. has adversely affected meat goat production. Unlike other species of meat animals in this country, meat goat selection has not benefitted as much from type conferences, breed association-sponsored testing, and selection research to develop a superior meat animal. Until the past sever years, in general, selection of meat goats has been more a factor of adaptability to environmental and production conditions than of preset selection criteria. In other words, those animals that survived the coyotes and drought stayed in the producer's herd. There are notable exceptions to the rule.
Many universities and experiment stations have good data on meat goats, and a few producers have developed their own selection criteria and have developed exceptional herds of Spanish breeding goats. However, until recent years, the economic incentive to upgrade the quality of meat goats was not sufficient to generate much improvement in commercial herds. With the increase in interest in meat goats as an alternative enterprise during the past few years, research into selection, adaptability to environmental and production conditions, reproductive efficiency, growth rate, and carcass quality has flourished. The catalyst for much of the renewed interest in meat goat production has been the introduction of the Boer goat. This new genetics promises improved carcass characteristics, increased growth potential, enhanced mothering ability, docility, and long breeding seasons. Research is just beginning to untangle the maze of claims concerning the Boer and its crossbreds.
The major factor limiting selection for larger genetically superior meat goats has been our system of marketing. Before major widespread change in meat goat type is accepted by commercial producers, two changes must occur within the meat goat marketing system. First, for there to be an economic return for implementing crossbreeding and development of a larger, more superior animal, goats must be sold by the pound. Secondly, carcass standards must be devised and implemented into the marketing structure, providing economic incentive for a superior carcass. However, as with any meat animal, selection of the most desirable animal is essential for continued prosperity and survival of the meat goat industry.
Side view. A good market goat should be balanced in appearance from the side with a straight, level tope and bottom lines. Length of rump, length of body, and length of leg are important to market desirability and overall body balance. The rump should be level, and the overall body should be trim. The barrel should be large enough and sufficient in depth to show evidence of the ability to convert forage and grow. Extremely "pot gutted" and pinched, "one gutted" animals should be avoided. The legs should be straight and placed squarely under the body, not cow-hocked. Both the fore and hind legs and shoulders should show evidence of abundant muscling.
Top view. A structurally correct market goat should be rectangular to slightly triangular in appearance when viewed from the top, with normal rounded withers with a wide top, loin, and rump. Body length should be apparent. Avoid the short, box-typed animals. Front view. When viewed from the front, a market goat should show width between the forelegs to indicate body volume and capacity, muscling in the forearm and shoulders, trimness in the brisket area, and soundness and correctness in the front feet and legs. The head should be in proportion to the neck and body.
Rear view. From the rear, the hindquarter should be muscular and long. The back, loin, and rump should be uniform in width. The feet and legs should be straight and spaced square and wide under the goat.
Reprinted with permission of author.
Look for Judging - Part II in the next issue
Editor's note: Dr. Fires conducted a meat goat judging school on May 31 at the Garrett County Fairgrounds. This activity was held in conjunction with Garrett Community College's 5th Annual Meat Goat Conference and the 3rd Annual Mt. Top Boer Goat Show and Sale, sponsored by the MD-PA-WV Meat Goat Producers Association. Please contact Susan if you are interested in participating in a meat goat judging school.
Maryland Sheep Breeders Association Annual meeting
Carroll County Ag Center, Westminster, MD
Contact: MSBA V.P. Jeff Hevner at (410) 775-2095
Virginia Bred Ewe Sale, Harrisburg, VA
Contact: Corey Childs at (540) 635-4549
November 2 (see article)
UMES Livestock Auction, Princess Anne, MD
Contact: Niki Whitley at (410) 651-6194
November 7-9 (see article)
8th Great Lakes Dairy Sheep Symposium
Contact: Mike Thonney at (607) 255-2851
November 9 - time TBA (see article)
MD-PA-WV Meat Goat Producers Association Meeting
Contact: Willie Lantz at (301) 387-3331
November 15-22 (see article)
North American International Livestock Expo
Contact: Harold Workman at (502) 367-5000
December 7 (see article and insert)
Mid-Atlantic Goat & Sheep Nutrition Conference
Western Maryland Research & Education, Center Keedysville, MD
Contact: Susan Schoenian at (301) 432-2767 ext. 343 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Alternative dates - Nov 2 (Virginia) and Nov 23 (North Carolina)
VA-NC Shepherd's Symposium and Sheep and Goat Marketing Summit, Shenandoah Valley, Exact location TBA.
Contact: Scott Greiner at (540) 231-9159
Future Harvest-CASA Conference: "Farming for Profit and Stewardship"
Clarion Hotel, Hagerstown, MD
Contact: Bruce Mertz at (410) 604-2681
American Sheep Industry Association (ASI)
"Capitol Advantage" 2002 Annual Convention
Washington DC Contact: (303) 771-3500 or email@example.com
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|The Maryland Sheep and Goat Producer is published bi-monthly by the Western Maryland Research & Education Center, 18330 Keedysville Road, Keedysville, Maryland 21756. It is edited by Susan Schoenian , Area Agent for Sheep and Goats in Western Maryland. Dr. Niki Whitley , Livestock Specialist at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore will be a regular contributor. Call or e-mail if you would like to be notified by e-mail when a new newsletter has been posted to the web or if you would like to be added or removed from the mailing list. My phone number is (301) 432-2767, ext. 343.|
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