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Nebraska Range Buck test results and program planned Oct. 23-24

Doris Uphoff
Elwood, Neb.
An electric mesh fence is used for controlling grazing in a designated pasture.

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Grass, weeds and water … the daily diet used for meat goat bucks in the 2009 Nebraska Range Buck Test being held along the side of Frenchman Creek just east of Enders, Neb. Breeders from Colorado, Missouri, Kansas, and across Nebraska have brought their bucks for an opportunity to assess results from this grazing test. This valley is covered with lush graze, weeds, roses, thistles and with all the rain this year lots of cool fresh water. The results from this test will be one of the statistics breeders are using to evaluate their meat goats breeding program and to assist in figuring feed cost for their programs. Will it be better to use feed or graze? How much improvement will bucks give to the grazing area? Are my goats the type that will do well on just graze for a grass produced carcass?

Bruce Peterson with his dad, Larry, have been grazing and raising meat goats in the area for the last two years. Increase in feed costs, control of noxious weeds and interest in the grass raised meat goats have created an interest for this type of test. As strange as it seems cattlemen are looking at goats for weed control as it is better for the environment than other forms of control, plus other advantages. Such as additional income from sale of goats, spraying is expensive, better graze for their cattle as the goats will eat wild roses, soap weeds and clear out areas so cattle will have more to graze. Grazing these goats with cattle will not reduce the carrying capacity of their pasture but rather increase it! Where else could you get such a deal!

On Saturday May 2, 2009, trailers and pickups hauling goats began the trip to Frenchman Creek with some arriving that Friday due to their longer journey. All entries had arrived and were ready to be weighed in by noon on Saturday. Already the pasture was lush and fenced just waiting for the goats to be turned out. Each entry paid $75 for the fee and will also be able to put four additional animals per entry in the sale to be held Oct. 24, 2009, at Imperial, Neb. In addition the goat owner will have all the information from the results of his goats in the test to use to plan future breeding programs.

After each goat was weighed Saturday morning they were turned together in a pen with other bucks and a Great Pyrenees guard dog. Electric mesh fence is being used to fence grazing areas appropriate for the size of the group. After all the bucks were weighed they were turned out into the lush pasture along the creek and then the dog went to each buck touching noses and went on about her job. This dog would stay with these goats for the length of the test with the assistance of some other young dogs in job training.

Bruce or Larry Peterson checked the bucks daily and put out Nutrition Services Pro Min for their consumption. This is a goat mineral with protein added. One day as Larry was checking he could only find nineteen out of the twenty entered for this first test. He kept hearing a goat talking and would walk the fence, count and start looking again. He was standing under a tree pondering where this goat could be after doing this several times. Larry heard the bleat again and looked up into the tree where he was standing, and there eight feet about him in the tree was the goat. On another day he was telling us how the same goat would stand in the middle of the creek to drink, not another goat would get their feet wet! They even had to put a plank across the stream so they would cross to fresh graze on the other side. Again being goats they would push another goat on across if they stopped in front of them so they could get to the grass and weeds. Another incident was that Larry was complaining about at one of the weigh days was that they were not eating the musk thistle. Just as soon as the bucks were turned back out to graze they walked right over the musk thistle and started taking it down.

In addition to Peterson’s checking the bucks daily they were weighed on a four week time slot. At this time the bucks were also inspected for any worm or health issues. There will be one more weigh-in on Oct. 17, 2009, where Kristi Traffas will do an ultra-sound for loin measurement. After those final numbers are complete Bruce will tabulate the results and have them available on the website and at the sale. Prior to the sale, you can go to two different websites to see what is happening at the Meat Buck Test and see each months results. The websites are: http://www.mduphoffboergoats.com or http://www.petersonboergoats.com. Take time to also browse pictures of the test goats and their grazing site.

The final windup and results of the Nebraska Range Buck test will be presented on Oct. 24, 2009, in Imperial, Neb., at the Chase County Fairgrounds. Bucks will be taken to the sale site on Friday 23rd for numbering and meat goats consigned to the sale will also be arriving.

Starting early Sat. morning after chores are done the program for attendees will be as follows:

8:45 – Welcome, Bruce Peterson

9:00 – Steve Parks, Goat Nutrition – Nebraska, Kansas, Colorado and Wyoming, Sale Rep., Essential Show Feeds, Nutrition Services, Inc., York, NE 68467

10:00 – Kristi Traffas, Preg Checking – A registered veterinary technician with her husband, Dr. Vincent Traffas, own and operate Traffas Veterinary Services in Smith Center, Kan. They run 60 head of Boer and Boer cross nannies along with their 16-year-old daughter, Shelby. Kristi does carcass ultrasounds on feedlot cattle to predict feeding endpints and recently started pregnancy ultrasound testing of sheep and goats.

11:00 – George Wagner, Commercial Goat Production – He grew up on a family farm in northeast Nebraska. After spending 20 years in the military he returned to the family farm in 1999 and has been working to build a multi-species grazing operation. His goat herd is run year round on pastureland also using same pasture for a cow/calf herd during the summer months. He is seeing the positive impact on his land from the combination of goats and cattle, now looking at adding sheep to his grazing operation.

12:00 – Lunch.

1:30 Auction – Regina Andrijeski: Auctioneer – Regina competed the last 2 years in the Nebraska Bid Calling Competition, winning the Rookie in 2007 and placing in the top 10 in 2008. In the 2009 NAA International Women’s Auctioneer Championship She was honored to come home with the 2nd Runner Up Trophy.

Throughout the morning sessions and the auction additional information will be available for the 2010 Range Buck Test and drawings will be held for door prizes. You can use this information about the test results to start thinking of what you want to enter next spring. After loading your purchases for a trip to their new homes you will start to evaluate all the information that you heard at this informative goat gathering. A great opportunity to mingle and network with others like you interested in this exciting and growing livestock industry in Nebraska.

For more information, please contact Mel or Doris Uphoff at (308) 785-8141.


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