Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Webinar today to discuss Estimated Breeding Values (EBVs)

To Register, go to

Dr. Dave Notter, Department of Animal Science, Virginia Tech University, will discuss “Using EBVs to Achieve Your Breeding Goals” in a webinar today at 7:00 p.m. CDT. Estimated Breeding Values are a progeny performance prediction based on individual pedigree data compared to breed average. A 2.2 EBV for weaning weight, for instance, indicates an animal’s offspring will likely weigh 2.2 pounds more at weaning than breed average.

It will be a very good program on how to utilize performance data to improve your herds. It will focus on sheep but all the concepts are applicable to goats. The National Sheep Improvement Program (NSIP) also offers its service to goat producers and will calculate EBVs for goats. More information on the National Sheep Improvement Program can be found at www.nsip.org.

“We started using this last year along with the Goat Herd Improvement Program (GHIP) that I do here,” said Dr. Kenneth Andries, assistant professor at Kentucky State University. “The use of data in goat production becomes more and more critical as we look ahead at ways to improve. It’s the best way to realize value.” 

Today’s webinar will address strategies to use EBVs to achieve breeding goals and manage genetic change in your flock. Topics to be covered include: 1) using direct and maternal EBVs to manage changes in body weights from birth through adulthood; 2) optimizing litter size to maximize ewe productivity; 3) using EBVs to optimize fleece value and the rate of improvement in fleece traits; 4) using scanning information to enhance carcass value; 5) using worm egg counts to enhance parasite resistance; and 6) using EBVs to improve reproductive performance. 

Selection indexes provides a convenient mechanism to combine EBVs for different traits into a single measure and are currently available for each of the main NSIP breed types. The presentation will discuss the value of indexes as tools for genetic improvement and consider how to address limitations of available indexes in specific production situations. 

This webinar is made possible with funding support from the Let's Grow Committee of the American Sheep Industry Association.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Feral hog workshop Sept. 4 in Bryan, Texas

A Feral Hog Management Workshop will be offered from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Sept. 4 at the Brazos County Expo complex, 5827 Leonard Road in Bryan, Texas. The program is free, but $15 for a catered lunch. RSVP for the meal by Aug. 28 by calling 979-823-0129. Five Texas Department of Agriculture continuing education units will be offered: one integrated pest management, one laws and regulations and three general.

“Feral hogs continue to be a primary issue in terms of damage to pasture and rangeland for landowners across Texas and certainly in the Brazos Valley,” said Dusty Tittle, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service agent for Brazos County. “This workshop will help landowners gain a better understanding of feral hog biology, methods that we can incorporate to better control and manage feral hogs on rangeland, plus laws and regulations of hunting the feral hog.”

Other topics to be discussed include population dynamics and research update; water quality in the Brazos Valley, agricultural regulations regarding feral hogs; feral hog control and trapping; feral hog transportation regulations and disease concerns.

Scheduled speakers are:
– Mark Tyson, AgriLife Extension associate, wildlife and fisheries science, College Station.
– Brad Tullis, Texas Department of Agriculture inspector, Austin.
– Nikki Dictson, AgriLife Extension program specialist, Texas Water Resources Institute, College Station.
– Linda Tschirhart-Hejl, Texas Wildlife Damage Management Service biologist, College Station.
– Danny Williamson, Texas Animal Health Commission, Austin.
– Dornell Crist, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department game warden, Brazos County.

The program is sponsored by AgriLife Extension and a Clean Water Act Section 319(h) nonpoint source grant from the Texas State Soil and Water Conservation Board and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

For more information, call 979-823-0129.