Extension offers workshops for sheep and goat producers

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Sheep and meat-goat producers looking for information on how to make their livestock enterprises more profitable can take advantage of two workshops offered by Penn State Extension this winter.

The first workshop will be held Monday, March 6, for seed-stock producers to learn more about using performance records to improve genetics, while the second workshop will be held on Tuesday, March 7, for producers to learn more about integrated parasite control and FAMACHA. Both workshops will be held at the Meats Lab at Penn State’s University Park campus.

"Getting Genetics Right: Converting Performance Records into Relevant Decision-Making Tools" will focus on helping sheep and goat producers become more familiar with how to develop estimated breeding values through the National Sheep Improvement Program (NSIP).

Workshop topics will include defining and ranking traits, how genetic information (estimated breeding values or EBVs) can assist in improving performance traits, selection for parasite resistance in pasture-raised sheep and goats, development of breeding objectives and approaches to selection of breeding animals, fecal egg count and live ultrasound demonstrations, the value of EBVs, and enrolling and using the NSIP system. This workshop will begin at 9:30 a.m. and conclude at 4 p.m.

On March 7, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., the Integrated Parasite Control and FAMACHA Training Workshop will help producers better prevent and control internal parasites in their herd or flock.

Topics will include small ruminant parasite ID and biology, dewormers and drug resistance, integrated parasite-control practices, and the FAMACHA system including hands-on training for detection of anemia associated with barber-pole worm infections. Presenters also will provide updates on a USDA Northeast SARE project titled “New Approaches for Improving Integrated Parasite Control for Small Ruminants in the Northeast” and on a USDA OREI project titled “Forage-based Parasite Control in Sheep and Goats in the Northeast U.S.”

Attendees can get more information and register for a workshop online. There is no cost to attend, but registration is required by March 3. To speak to one of the organizers, contact Melanie Barkley at the Penn State Extension office in Bedford County at 814-623-4800.

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Last Updated February 15, 2017