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Applied Research

Jeff Semler
Extension Agent, Agriculture & Food Systems
University of Maryland Extension


The Western Maryland Pasture-Based Meat Goat Performance Test was initiated in 2006 at the University of Maryland’s Western Maryland Research & Education Center (39º 30’ N/77º 44’ W) in Keedysville, Maryland USA. The purpose of the annual test was to determine genetic differences in meat goat bucklings consuming a pasture only diet, with natural exposure to gastro-intestinal parasites. While on test, the goats were handled bi-weekly to determine body weights (BW), FAMACHA© eye anemia scores (FAM), body condition scores (BCS), coat condition scores, and dag scores. Fecal  samples were collected bi-weekly to determine individual fecal eggs counts (FEC). Pooled samples were collected every 14 to 28 days for larvae identification (ID). Since 2006, data have been collected on 374 bucks, of various breeds and breed types, representing 46 herds in 17 states. There were significant year effects (P<0.001) for FAM, FEC, BCS, and ADG.  Fecal egg counts were highest in 2007 and 2008 and lowest in 2009 and 2010. FAMACHA© scores have been trending lower (getting better) and were lowest in 2010. ADG was highest in 2007, but did not differ in years 2008-2011. There were significant (P<0.0001) correlations between traits: a weak positive correlation between FEC and FAM and a weak, negative correlation between FEC and ADG.  Within years, the correlation between FEC and FAM ranged from 0.14 and 0.42. Year had no effect on ID and pooled fecal egg counts. From 2009-2011, the worm load carried by the goats was composed of 92.5% Haemonchus contortus.


Poster has NOT been presented at any previous NACAA AM/PIC

This poster is being submitted for judging. It will be displayed at the AM/PIC if not selected as a State winner. The abstract will be published in the proceedings.

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Authors: J. Semler, S. Schoenian, D. Gordon, W. Lantz, M. Bennett, E. Escobar, D.J. O'Brien
  1. Semler, J. Extension Educator, Agriculture, University of Maryland Extension, Maryland, 21713
  2. Schoenian, S. Small Ruminant Extension Specialist, University of Maryland Extension, Maryland, 21756
  3. Gordon, D. Faculty Extension Assistant, 4-H Youth Development/ Agriculture & Natural Resources, University of Maryland Extension, Maryland, 20855
  4. Lantz, W. Extension Educator, Agriculture & Natural Resources, University of Maryland Extension, Maryland, 21550
  5. Bennett, M. Extension Agent, Agriculture & Natural Resources, West Virginia University Extension Service, West Virginia, 25401
  6. Escobar, E. Assistant Professor, University of Maryland, Eastern Shore, Maryland, 21853
  7. O'Brien, D. Assistant Professor, Delaware State University, Delaware, 19901