Meat Goat Testing Program
The program is administered by the PA Department of Agriculture in cooperation with Penn State's Department of Dairy and Animal Science, the Pennsylvania Sheep and Wool Grower's Association, and state breed associations.
- To provide a genetically sound testing program that would allow both large and small goat producers to participate;
- to promote performance testing of goats in Pennsylvania and acquaint producers with its overall value;
- to provide a common test for evaluating rate of gain, structural soundness, muscularity, condition, and estimated carcass merit; and
- to provide an opportunity for purebred breeders and commercial producers to purchase performance-tested bucks, which have been evaluated in part under similar, unbiased, environmental conditions.
The testing facility could house up to 200 Bucks in 5 pens for a 70-day feeding period. Rations are self fed after a warm-up period and contain approximately 1000 lbs. Oats, 500 lbs Corn, 250 lbs. Linseed meal, 190 lbs. Soybean meal, 50 lbs. Wheat middlings, and 26 lbs. Minerals and vitamins.
Consignments to the Testing Program
All bucks consigned to the program must meet the following criteria:
- The test is open to purebred and papered percentage bucks born between September 1st and February 28th immediately preceding the year the test is conducted.
- Bucks must be weaned at least two (2) weeks prior to entry date and weigh at least 30 pounds upon delivery.
- Bucks must have a recorded birthdate and their sire must be known and documented.
- Bucks must be free of obvious structural or reproductive abnormalities. This is a combination of structural correctness, mouth, frame type, natural muscling, and breed type.
- Bucks must arrive at the Center with feet recently trimmed and no evidence of any foot disease.
Why should I Consign Bucks?
Performance testing of bucks provides the seedstock producer important information about their own genetic improvement program, as well as making a comparison with other breeders. The advantages of performance testing include:
- Bucks are tested and fed in one environment with, similar management, so differences in performance are more likely to be genetic.
- Complete performance information is provided.
- Progress in genetic improvement can be tracked over succeeding generations.
- Interim and final reports provide good advertisements to other breeders and the general public.
- Bucks accepted for sale are offered to a larger pool of prospective buyers.
Performance-Tested Bucks Sale
An index ratio will be used to rank rams at the conclusion of the test for sale eligibility. Each breed group will sell separately. Approximately the top 75% within breed group will sell. Some of the information available for the buyers and sellers of the rams includes:
- breeder's name and address
- sire and dam
- birth type
- test average daily gain
- weight/day of age
- fat thickness
- shoulder height
- loineye area
- scrotal circumference
- Leg circumference
- Breeding soundness
Why should I Buy Performance-Tested Bucks?
The information generated in a performance-testing program for bucks provides valuable selection tools to increase productivity and profitability for a goat herd. The selection of potential sires in the goat herd is one of the most important management decisions that are made.