It’s hard to believe, but 2020 marks our fifth year raising goats! This year, I’m excited to participate in some of the American Dairy Goat Association’s performance programs so that we can get more detailed information on our herd and then use that data to make better decisions as we decide which goats to keep, sell, and breed in the future.
What is ADGA Plus?
You can read about the ADGA Plus program here on the ADGA website, but to summarize:
[ADGA Plus] includes 3 pre-paid DNA marker tests at a reduced rate (when you are ready to test, it is your choice of animals but you will need to let us know which animals you want to test), discount on the DHIR/LA option, discount on other genetic testing services, free subscription reports, and a separate listing on the ADGA website and Directory.
You can find a list of all the current ADGA Plus herds here.
We already planned to do linear appraisal and the 305 day milk test this year, and there’s a good chance that DNA testing for registered bucks may become a requirement in the future, so it seemed to make sense to register for ADGA Plus and bundle everything together to get a discount.
Linear Appraisal (LA)
Linear appraisal (often abbreviated as “LA”) is a scoring system that assesses the structural and functional durability of a dairy goat. Judges utilize a scorecard to assess individual traits on a scale of how close they are to ideal conformation.
Mature does are judged on:
- General Appearance (35% of overall score)
- Dairy Strength (20% of overall score)
- Body Capacity (10% of overall score)
- Mammary (35% of overall score)
Bucks and young stock (does who have not yet freshened) are judged on:
- General Appearance (55% of overall score)
- Dairy Strength (30% of overall score)
- Body Capacity (15% of overall score)
Knowing your goats’ scores (particularly the break down of individual areas) is helpful in making breeding decisions to improve upon areas that are weak.
Dairy Herd Improvement Registry (DHIR)
DHIR is another performance program that gives you insight into your herd’s milk production quantity and quality. DHIR data can help you determine if you are making the best decisions in terms of feed, breeding, and overall management. It also gives you the potential to earn milk stars on your goats’ pedigree as proof of milk production performance.
We’ve been working with Dairy One to get ready for our 305-day milk test, and though we still have a lot to learn, they’ve been extremely helpful in helping us understand the process and paperwork.
I’m really looking forward to seeing the data we get back from our milk tests. We don’t have any girls that are outstanding milkers right now, but milk production is one of my primary goals and I’m excited to get a baseline to start and improve upon in the coming years!
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