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ORIGIN: United States

Extension Goat Handbook

This material was contributed from collections at the National Agricultural Library. However, users should direct all inquires about the contents to authors or originating agencies.

DOCN 000000014
NO B-8
C. M. Lawrence F. D. Murrill; U. of California, Davis
G. F. W. Haenlein; U. of Delaware, Newark
Management and Housing

1 The number of dairy goat herds has greatly increased in the United States in past years. This has brought increased needs for accurate production and management information.

2 The National Cooperative Dairy Herd Improvement Program (NCDHIP) is a production-testing and information-gathering system that provides important information for management, breed and pedigree work, genetic evaluations, education and research. The program was developed primarily for dairy cattle, but dairy goat owners also are using the program. However, the number of dairy goats participating in the Dairy Herd Improvement Program is still limited. Participation is sometimes difficult because:
* Goat herds tend to have few animals; therefore, the cost of testing goats may be high when compared with their earning capability.
* Participating goat owners are asked to abide by official Dairy Herd Improvement (DHI) and Dairy Herd Improvement Registry (DHIR) rules, and their breed registry organization's rules; for example, the American Dairy Goat Association (ADGA) and the American Goat Society (AGS).
* Goat owners may be located in areas not readily served by a Dairy Herd Improvement Association (DHIA), or the DHIA may have bylaw restrictions on dairy goats.
* Goats are seasonal breeders, so there may be a period during the year when all does in the herd are dry at the same time; although the herd is to be on test the year around, whether does are milking or are dry.

3 There are several ways to obtain official production-testing information that is acceptable to the breed registry organizations, breed registry programs, and DHI programs. There are also other production-testing programs for obtaining unofficial production data for herd management. Such records are not acceptable to the dairy goat breed registry organizations because of their unofficial status.

4 Official Production-Testing Programs The One-Day Test is a dairy goat breed registry program and has its own rules and procedures. These tests, usually held during local fairs or special goat shows, provide opportunity for does to earn ''star'' recognition. Arrangements must be made, in advance, with the dairy goat breed registry organizations and the local DHIA. The One-Day Test is conducted by a local DHIA supervisor, and there is a special charge. For information and rules concerning the One-Day Test, contact your dairy goat breed registry organization. This test is not part of the DHI program.

5 The DHI program is a cooperative education and research project between a state's land grant university and the dairy industry. Dairymen through local, state, and national DHIA's carry out the business, operation, and service responsibilities of the testing program. To be eligible to participate in the official testing programs of NCDHIP, one must be a member of a local or state DHIA. Official records are those that are verifiable as having been made in accordance with the National Official DHI Rules, the combined rules for DHIR, and policies approved by the Policy Board for NCDHIP. In some instances, a local DHIA may not be able to accept dairy goat owners as members in a cow-testing organization because of limitations in their bylaws. Some may agree, on the other hand, to provide this official testing service on a contract basis to nonmember dairy goat owners.

6 Dairy goat owners may apply for membership in a local or county DHIA. When membership is approved, the local DHIA will send a supervisor once a month to weigh, sample, and test each doe's milk for yield and butterfat. The supervisor also gathers the necessary management information from the herd owner, then fills out and mails the completed sheets to a dairy record processing computer center.

7 The DHIA member may choose between several official and unofficial testing programs, but will be required to pay local, state, and national DHIA and breed organization fees, as appropriate, in addition to service fees for electronic data processing.

8 A permit to test DHIR must be obtained from the breed registry organization. All official records must comply with national official DHI and DHIR rules, dairy goat breed registry organization rules, and rules established by local, state, and national DHIA's.

9 Should one be in an area without the services of a local DHIA, or if the local DHIA is unable to provide testing services to dairy goat owners, it is possible to form a dairy goat DHIA separate from the local cow DHIA. ++++MISSING DATA++++

10 The Group Test (GT) program has been approved for official types of testing programs by the National Policy Board for NCDHIP and the National Sub-Group for Dairy Goats and is now operational in some state and local DHIA's.

11 The GT is not a ''type'' of testing program, but a procedure for conducting official types of testing programs. The GT enables DHIA-member dairy goat owners to participate in the official DHI and DHIR programs by allowing each group member to perform supervisor (test) responsibilities by testing herds of other group members. Group testing results in lower costs for production testing. In addition to fulfilling the requirements for official DHI and DHIR tests, GT members must also abide by special GT rules approved by the National Policy Board for NCDHIP. Each member of the test group is trained to perform supervisor responsibilities when weighing and sampling milk in the herds of other GT members. The milk sample is taken to the official DHIA supervisor or lab, the fat test is performed and the test sheets are forwarded to the dairy record processing computer center. To participate in the DHIR GT program, one must obtain a ''permit to test DHIR'' from the breed registry organization and be enrolled in the official program with the local or state DHIA. All official group testing is conducted under the jurisdiction and supervision of a local DHIA and the state extension dairyman.

12 Unofficial Production-Testing Programs Several other production-testing programs may be provided by the local DHIA to meet individual needs for management. These do not have stringent rules. It should be recognized that un official production-testing programs provide valuable data for use in herd management, but because the conditions under which the records are made cannot be verified, they are not accepted by the industry or the breed registry organization officially.

13 The Commercial Test is performed by the DHIA supervisor, but compliance with official rules is not required. It is basically the same type of service that is provided in the official DHI testing program. There is usually no savings in cost for the commercial test compared with an official DHI test.

14 The Owner-Sampler Test has responsibilities shared by the owner and the DHIA supervisor. The owner weighs the milk, takes the sample, and records the data. The fat test is performed by the DHIA supervisor or lab. The cost of this test is usually less than other testing programs, because the owners do most of the work themselves.

15 The DHIA may take other types of tests available to dairy goat owners to meet their specific needs. These programs are also unofficial and not acceptable to the industry or the breed registry organization, however, provide valuable information for herd management.

16 Starting a Group Test Program Timing is important in planning. If dairy goats begin freshening after the first of January, it is recommended that program planning and training take place in October, November, and December. This allows time to form the GT unit and to begin operation as soon as the goats start freshening.

17 The local DHIA board of directors must approve the local GT program. The local farm advisor or extension agent should explain the basic concepts to the test group. The DHIA board should ++++MISSING DATA++++

18 There must be a group leader in charge. The group leader must attend the DHI supervisor training sessions and help train group members in testing and getting samples to the central laboratory for component testing. Where required, group leaders are trained as DHI supervisors and are licensed. They may conduct tests on member herds outside the group when hired to do so by the DHIA.

19 Duties of the group leader usually are not burdensome; however, to see that the testing program is conducted as planned and complies with all rules and policies, the leader must work closely with the DHIA supervisor and dairy farm advisor or extension agent.

20 Problems within the group should first go to the leader for solution. If the leader cannot resolve the problems, the leader should then take them to any or all of the following people in this order: DHIA supervisor, DHIA board of directors, dairy farm advisor, extension agent and/or state extension dairyman. The leader acts as liaison among these groups.

21 A special training program for all members of the test group must be held before herd testing begins. Training should be conducted by any or all of the following people: DHIA supervisor, dairy farm advisor, extension agent and/or state extension dairyman.

22 Items to consider in planning:
--procedures for weighing and sampling milk
--animal identification
--recording management information
--handling samples
--supervisors' responsibilities
--herd owners' responsibilities
--delivering samples for butterfat, protein, and
--somatic cell testing
--herd information required
--services available for goat herds
--computer programs
--what to do when all animals are dry
--official rules and policies
--using production-testing information
--equipment maintenance
--cost assessment of testing and bill collection
--roles, responsibilities, and relationships of group members
--testing schedules

23 The group may want to impose additional rules or guidelines for its members. The adoption of such rules should be by a majority vote of the GT members. These rules must not conflict with official rules of DHIA.

24 The group members should fully understand that the success of the program is up to each individual member. There can be no shortcuts in the operation of the program. Records must be kept in good order so that any question can be verified. Failure to abide by the rules will jeopardize the GT program and its production records.

25 National DHI Rules for Group Test All GT herds must follow the national DHI and DHIR rules for official test. These rules are available from the local DHIA, dairy farm advisor or extension agent. The following additional rules for GT are required.
1. A minimum of four herds in any single test group (under some exceptional circumstances, states may approve groups with three members).
2. Only those dairy goat owners attending a special training program supervised by the state extension dairyman are permitted to participate in ++++MISSING DATA++++

26 Surprise Testing Requirements for DHIR All official DHI and DHIR herds are subject to surprise tests (check tests). A surprise test is designed to verify the authenticity of production, identification, and other details. The surprise test is unannounced and includes a preliminary milking preceding the 24-hour milking period being verified. A surprise test is conducted by a DHIA supervisor or by a qualified group leader for herds participating in the GT program.

27 The state extension dairyman for NCDHIP shall arrange for surprise tests when:
1. Data and information available indicate rules may have been violated to the extent that regular supervision would not give a true test of the herd or any individuals in the herd.
2. Requested to do so by the Superintendent of Official Testing, the American Dairy Goat Association or the American Goat Society.
3. The following requirements are met:
-if an individual doe record, after 90 days, is projected on an actual basis to be at least 3000 pounds milk and/or 105 pounds butterfat
-on a Mature Equivalent (ME) basis, after 90 days, the projected record is 3500 pounds milk and/or 125 pounds buttermilk
-on a ME basis, after 180 days, the projection is 4000 pounds milk and/or 140 pounds butterfat

28 Value of Production Testing Information from GT, DHI, DHIR or other similar programs has important direct benefits for herd management and long range genetic progeny testing benefits for buck and elite doe selection, contracts, sales and breed improvements. Participating goat owners receive monthly computer printed reports for:
-each milking doe
-total herd
-annual and decade progress
-merit of bucks used against others
-available in the area
-completed and projected records
-cost accounting, and returns over feed
-income returns of individual herd members
-animal kidding intervals
-average age of first milkers
-average age of all milkers
-rate of roughage and concentrate
-feeding in relation to requirement
-reproduction and health records

29 Production-testing through the GT program provides the dairy goat owner with valuable herd management information for the improvement of his/her herd, which benefits the whole industry in the long run.

ORIGIN;United States


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