Our Breeding Program
Our goal is to increase the genetic merit of our herd as much as possible with every generation. It is not an understatement to say that the majority of our investments annually are towards sourcing and incorporating the best genetics available worldwide. In the past year we have moved towards using genomics to breed for and rear exceptional bucks. It is our belief that the United States is seriously lacking in proven genetics for commercial dairies and that genomics greatly increases the heritability of good genes and greatly reduces the time it takes to increase herd productivity and profitability.
Data Analysis and selection
Keeping good records is tantamount to determining which goats carry the next generation of young sires. Having a data point on every animal from a monthly DHI test day is crucial. We use PC Dart to help us index each goat, track progeny and production as well as generate the various reports we use to rank the goats in our herd. After determining if a goat is a candidate for A.I., we will decide what semen to use based on what traits we want to amplify in the next generation
The traits we breed for include:
Long Lactations (we want goats that milk straight through for 2 years. This reduces the amount of time the goat is dry and not generating income, reduces stress and the instances of complication at kidding time, and reduces the volume of offspring born. We believe extended lactations is one of the main levers for profitability on a goat farm)
Lbs. of Protein in a lactation (it's not just about volume because protein is what you're paid on.)
Overall Confirmation (Legs, feet, udder attachment, teat placement to name a few. You can't have a goat who milks well for a long time if they don't have the body to do it)
Ease of kidding and overall resilience (When you invest a lot in your herd and in future generations, the worst thing that can happen is complications at kidding time. This is where the majority of losses are incurred on any dairy.
We use a timed A.I. protocol to bring groups of goats into heat at the same time. This enables us to breed many animals on the same day improving efficiency and increasing conception rates. To help identify goats in a good heat we use victimized bucks with marking paste to tell use which goats will be eligible for A.I.
We use a technique called Laproscopic A.I. (LAI) to breed the goats to achieve higher conception rates and breed many goats on the same day for a consolidated kidding period. Because this is intrauterine insemination, the procedure must be carried out by a vet and required specialize equipment and a clean, warm space for the procedure to take place. It is our opinion that when you spend a lot of money for a straw of semen, you want to achieve the highest conception rate possible, which i why we LAI.
Preg checking with an ultrasound machine is an important follow up to determining which goats successfully conceived. We ultrasound as early as possible to know who was bred to semen. A cleanup buck goes in with the A.I. group no sooner that 15 days after insemination to insure that a natural breeding will not show up on the ultrasound but also that the doe will get bred on her next cycle if she is indeed open.