Welcome 2016

savannah-buckHello everyone.  I hope the holidays find you and your Savannas well.   We are planning on moving forward at a brisker pace with the new website in the coming months.  The early kidding season has started as seen by the numerous pictures of great Savannas on the “Savanna goat for sale” Facebook page that is monitored by Donna Blankenship.  If you have Internet access and a Facebook account, this is the place to be.  It is a spot for great conversation, helpful hints, and just a way to keep an eye on the happenings of the Savanna breeder world.   I personally have found the location of certain genetics that other breeders have, to be the most helpful.

We all know about the limited genetic pool we are working with, but many do not know about the inbreeding coefficient that is taking place.  We must study the pedigrees and seek out sires that will match up well with our base herds.  This is not an easy task.  We have the recent Ken Mincey import that was very helpful to us all.  The early MGF goats in the 100 series bring forth some new genetics to work into a herd with the most limited inbreeding coefficient.  The four bucks and seventeen does should be our target.  Purchasing direct offspring of these twenty-one goats would have the lowest coefficient to introduce into a program.  The unfortunate concern expressed by some PI breeders is there is a few that are breeding only MGF imports back and forth between three farms.  The pedigrees will show differing farm names, but in reality the goats are related with the inbreeding coefficient getting magnified.  It is frequent to see a grandson being bred to its grandmother in this scenario with a 12.5% inbreeding coefficient assuming there was not any prior inbreeding.  We must assume there was some with the Mincey import as the goats were kept in Australia in quarantine for several years prior to entering the US.  There was also an unexplained pregnancy when the goats arrived.  We must keep this in mind as we study future purchases.

Dale Coody has done the Savanna world a great service by harvesting semen over the years from past bucks that were great performers.  The preservation of these bucks is valuable to our future.  Breeders that have access or experience with artificial insemination (AI) should consider this as an option to a seasons breeding program.  He has some of the original Jurgen Schultz import bucks as well as later champions.

The economic value of the traits of a Savanna meat goat during study at TSU reveals,  “Doe Reproductive output is the most important.”   Big singles are not as valuable to an operation as two normal sized twins or triplets.  The kid growth rate is the next important factor with carcass meat being the third.  It is carcass meat that many seem focused as the most important.  This is just not supported by the data from Tennessee State University’s work.  As Savanna breeders, we all must move to help improve the output and breed.  The first step is birth weights and good records on the kidding rates of the does.  A wean weight and 6 month weight will give a good view of the ADG of the offspring.  This takes the subjective out of the business and replaces with the objective.

We at Savanna Goat News are going to review some farm software programs in the coming weeks for you, a free version from 4H and Tractor Supply and a purchased goat software application.  This will be the first tool needed to help objectively make decisions about your future program.

Thanks again, and take a look at the breed standard link from Pedigree International.  You might notice it takes you to an Australia web site.  The buck in the picture is none other than a United States Savanna.  This is from Chris Luton’s program.   His name is “BHF- WhoDunnit”.   This buck was featured in a book written in the U.K. Know your Goats by Jack Byard.  The photo of Chris’s buck was also selected for the  Savanna breed standards page by the Australian association.   They know quality when they see it.   Way to go Chris!