for visually assessing the anatomical traits (scale and structure) of meat goats to evaluate their possible use as breeding stock. I understand that this evaluation is not just another Body Con- ditioning Score that reflects only the nutritional status of an animal but rather is a visual pictorial appraisal of goats like all of us use when we are looking at the body traits of a goat (size, weight, skeletal structure, degree of muscling, set/shape of feet and legs, apparent masculinity or femininity, balance, triangularity, smooth blending of parts, and general appearance for the breed or crossbred). When I get this app and ac- companying prose, I will share it with you at the earliest opportunity so that you may purchase and use it if/as you see fit. But, I tell you plainly that such an app can offer only supple- mental assistance in breeder goat evaluations. If you don’t have ad- justed litter weaning weights for your does, you are severely compromised in selection among prospects.
I did dairy cattle for 40 years early on and participated in the Dairy Herd Improvement Record program in which the milk yield of each cow was weighed monthly and the fat content analyzed. This allowed an owner to know for sure the 305 lactation and fat yields of his herd.
The no-cost Goat Herd Improvement Program at Ky SU pro- vides a similar path for meat goat owners. You can join for the asking; why do you hesitate? Call Dr. Ken Andries at 502-229-8719 and be- come smarter than you are now.
Over the years, widescale usage of this low-cost testing program by milk producers found Holstein cows to produce more product more profitably than the other four breeds. The use of bulls of known genetic superiority in artificial insemination programs has more than doubled the output/cow in the last 50 years.
Their genetic progress is documented and U.S. Holsteins go to international markets at very high prices. It has been my pleasure to see them in action in Poland, Syria, Iran, Egypt, Nigeria, Japan, Tai- wan and Philippines as well as northern Europe and England/Scot- land. Their male kids go into feedlots and provide lots of low-fat meat to these populations.
Should you want to raise a Holstein bull calf for your deep- freeze needs, buy a 3-4 day old animal weighing 90-100 lb that has been on colostrum. Feed one 25 lb bag of milk replacer powder (1 lb in 7 lb of water divided into two feedings/day). Offer water ad lib throughout the feeding period.
Buy 300 lbs of commercial pig starter pellets and offer it ad lib
at 10 days of age. Thereafter, feed it 600 lb of pig grower pellets ad lib and then feed it 900 lb of pig finisher pellets ad lib. The calf will grow to about 630 lb in about 34 weeks and post an average daily gain of 3.0+lb and a feed conversation efficiency of just under 4 lb feed/1 lb of gain. Pig feed costs more that cow/calf feed, but your Holstein is functioning as a mono-gastric pig, not as a poly-gastric calf.
The finished calf will hot-dress at least 54%, say, 330 lb of chilled
carcass. The meat will have only minimum marbling and about 1/10 inch back fat, but it will be tender — like a heavy vealer calf. I sold such calves for years to folks interested in low fat beef and svelte figures and eating healthy, as they say nowadays. I rec- ommend you take the bull to a commercial slaughter plant for pro- cessing (or you could slaughter him in your backyard depending on the age and whereabouts of your young children).
Possible breakthrough in parasite control I am indebted to former Langston U colleague, Dr. Steve Hart, research and extension goat person who has just retired to — what else — run a goat farm. He sent me the following message:
10 Goat Rancher | February 2021
The USDA recently announced a groundbreaking treatment for Haemonchus contortus (Barberpole worm) in small ruminants. The product is related to Bt, Bacillus thuringiensis, a bacteria that pro- duces a protein that is toxic to nematodes.
Bt has been used by farmers to control a number of insect lar-
vae. The crystalline toxin is solubilized in the alkaline insect digestive tract (mammals have an acidic digestive tract).
It works by binding to the insect or nematode gut, causing it to spill the stomach contents out into the body cavity and kills the insect or nematode larvae.
It has been shown to be effective against nematodes (worms) in mice, hamsters, dogs and pigs. The product was able to reduce sheep fecal egg counts by 90-95%, in a few days, but reduced the number of live worms in the animals by 72% (worm numbers were not reduced as much as fecal egg counts because the product killed more female worms than male worms).
This is likely to be a big help in controlling the barberpole worm in the future. It has two potential drawbacks — the rst is that if the company tries to license it as a drug, it will take years and millions of dollars to get approved. If they choose to license it as a probiotic product, the approval process will be much easier, faster and cheaper, but will nonetheless take some time.
The other potential drawback is that resistance to Bt has been observed in some insects where Bt has been used for years to control them. Even if this happens, it is a long-term process (resistance is ex- pected to develop more slowly than dewormer resistance). At the least, it enables us to kick the can down the road on con- trolling worms for a while. This will give us time to improve our ge- netics for worm resistance and improve our management to prevent worms.
Some data indicates that it will work synergistically with the dewormer Prohibit™. The company is working on raising capital to start the approval process. Yes, in due time, it looks like we will have another weapon in our arsenal in the war against worms. FP: I have contacted APHIS personnel and I will soon be talking with those scientists who conducted the research on sheep. I will get their opinion regarding the use of this product for goats and I will post their reply in my column soonest. As most readers know, the Barber-pole worm is of serious con- cern to goat producers in the Southeast U.S. and elsewhere with the ‘right’ combination of heat and humidity. In general, we have over- used other dewormers to the extent that they have lost their useful- ness. Careful as you go when this new treatment is released.
Coming goat statistics The National Agriculture Statistical Service report became available in late January. Dr. Ken McMillin and I will present the goat inventories in the March issue of Goat Rancher and in the June issue we will document goat slaughter numbers and quantities of im- ported frozen goat meat. All these gures will appear in our two-part CY 2021 Goat Industry Update. I will also document the observed higher prices for slaughter goats and for breeding stock in 2020. I contend that 2021 will see similar or higher prices for such stock be- cause it appears to be a sellers market — a grand time to be in the goat business, for sure.
(Dr. Frank Pinkerton, PhD, is a retired extension goat specialist
living in San Marcos, Texas. He can be contacted at 512-392-4123 or by e-mail at email@example.com
m. His book, A Compila- tion of the Wit and Wisdom of the Goat Man, is available for purchase at www.goatrancher.co
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