Herd Performance Evaluation & Genetic Improvement
IMPORTANCE OF PERFORMANCE TESTING
Meat goat producers should be interested in herd performance evaluation and genetic improvement. Recently, there has been increased awareness of the important role of performance testing in meat goat programs. We completed a USDA project that increased the implementation of such programs in individual herds and among some breeder groups. However, too many goat managers are still reluctant to adequately document performance for economically important production traits in meat goat herds.
We partnered with the Federal Goat and Sheep Research Center in Brazil (EMBRAPA) to offer a new program to encourage seed stock managers and others to get on board with on-farm testing. This goes beyond our earlier focus on tracking within-herd performance and ratios. The program is called simply the Meat Goat Genetic Evaluation System (MGGES). MGGES is part of the GENECOC network of databases. The database is managed by its developer (Dr. R. N. Braga Lôbo) and generates across-herd EPD values for genetic evaluation.
Data for the TSU herd are in MGGES. With recent financial support provided by USDA Southern SARE, with plans are moving forward to open the system to private herds/producer groups. Participating private herds will be able to genetically link their herd records to the historical TSU herd performance data to enhance genetic assessments.
Producers currently recording and processing data for ratio values are encouraged to continue, whether in-house or with the assistance of a central data processing location (such as what we were doing on the old project). We will continue to provide assistance whenever requested.
Check back often for updates on MGGES, a new phase of on-farm performance testing for meat goats. Click on any of the following icons to learn about this effort and its partners.
If raising and selling meat goats as a business, seedstock or commercial, recording of animal weights should be a common part of the management program. This is important for genetic improvement, readiness of market kids, and the general assessment of management protocols.
OFF-FARM CENTRAL BUCK PERFORMANCE TEST STATIONS
- Angelo State University (Texas)
- University of Maryland
- Eastern Oklahoma State College
- Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture
- West Virginia University
A note about buck performance testing relative to doe herd performance.
Similar relationships have been documented for beef cattle performance. Buck testing alone is insufficient to improve overall herd performance. Doe evaluation is equally important, perhaps more so relative to herd economics.