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Mark your calendars for Spooner Sheep Day – August 22, 2015

On behalf of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, Department of Animal Sciences and Agricultural Research Stations and the University of Wisconsin-Extension, Cooperative Extension, you are invited to attend the 63rd Annual Spooner Sheep Day to be held at the Spooner Agricultural Research Station on Saturday, August 22, 2015. A program, with a map, is available below.

The program will be a mix of reports of sheep research results and timely topics for the sheep industry. Featured speakers this year will be Cody Hiemke, B.S. and M.S. in Animal Sciences from UW-Madison and current Lamb Program Manager, Niman Ranch (a natural meats company) and Dr. Kay Nelson, D.V.M from UW-Madison and current veterinarian for the herds and flocks of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. Cody will lead a discussion on the production of a quality market lamb and the benefits to both the producer and the sheep industry of producing such lambs. Dr. Nelson will discuss some of the more common sheep health issues she has seen at the UW-Madison sheep units at both the Arlington and Spooner Stations with recommended preventive measures and treatments. Two graduate students working with the sheep program at Spooner (Tom Murphy and Vera Ferreira) and the 2015 summer student intern at Spooner (Emily Petzel) will present results of several projects they have been working on including the Use of Estimated Breeding Values in Predicting Future Performance of Sheep, the Effect of Breed and Hybrid Vigor on Lamb Survival, and a Novel Approach to Controlling Internal Parasites in Lambs

The program will conclude with an open house at the sheep farm in the afternoon that will focus on a discussion among participants on sheep facilities and handling innovations.

A lamb lunch will be served at noon at a cost of $8.00 per adult, $5.00 for children ages 5 to 11, and free for children under 5. Advanced reservations are not required.

Spooner Sheep Day has a long tradition of providing useful information to the state’s sheep producers and is the longest-running agricultural field day of the many held each year by the University of Wisconsin-Madison, College of Agricultural and Life Sciences. We hope to see you at this year’s field day for an informative program, a delicious lamb lunch, and the opportunity to visit with and learn from your fellow sheep producers.  For more information, contact Lorraine Toman at the Spooner Agricultural Research Station (715-635-3735, lltoman@wisc.edu) or me (dlthomas@wisc.edu, 608-263-4306).

Sincerely yours,

David L. Thomas

Professor of Sheep Genetics and Management

Spooner Sheep Day Flyer 2015

Resource for Wisconsin’s Meat Goat Producers

About the Network

Since there is no formal meat goat producer association in Wisconsin, this website, email group and information serves way for farms /individuals who raise meat goats to connect, network, share information and learn from each other. 

This is an informal network.

Contact Information

Coordination of the Network & Invitation to Contribute

Leslie, a meat goat farmer in Western Wisconsin, set up this resource for others who raise meat goats in Wisconsin. She’s currently coordinating this website, email group and Facebook group. If you’d like to help contribute to the website with photos of your goats and farm, please send them to Leslie at the network’s email above. Credit will be given to you, as well as a link to a farm website or email.Interested in helping coordinate this information group or have ideas? Contact Leslie through the email above. This is what we, as goat producers in Wisconsin, make it. Leslie is just getting things started. It’d be great to get others involved as well.

The webpage can be accessed at:  http://wimeatgoatproducers.weebly.com/

FAMACHA Producer Workshop (Control of Internal Parasites in Sheep and Goats)

A workshop will be held in Arena, Wisconsin on Saturday, June 27, 2015 on Intensive Parasite Management and Grazing and Pasture Management for sheep and goat producers. Focus of the program will be use of the FAMACHA score card for assessing internal parasitism in sheep and goats.

FAMACHA is a diagnostic tool developed in South Africa to help farmers identify Haemonchus contortus (Barber Pole worm) infection in sheep and goats. The tool is a chart that matches eyelid color to anemia levels, an indicator of parasite infection. This type of diagnosis allows farmers to target treatment only to infected animals, which in some systems has reduced use of deworming agents by 90 percent. Not only do farmers save money, they significantly reduce the likelihood of causing parasites to become resistant to dewormers. Identification of susceptible and more resistant animals enables producers to make more informed breeding and culling decision in managing their flocks and herds. Attending an approved training session, such as this FAMACHA Producer Workshop, is the only way that a producer can obtain a FAMCHA score card.

Jim Morgan, Operations Manager with Katahdin Hair Sheep International, Fayetteville, Arkansas will make presentations on intensive parasite management and use of the FAMACHA score card, and Gene Schriefer, Iowa County Agriculture Agent, Dodgeville, Wisconsin will make a presentation on grazing and pasture management. Vince and Nancy Pope will host the workshop participants at their Double Ewe Farm, Arena, Wisconsin in the afternoon for hands-on training in use of the FAMACHA score card using their Katahdin sheep.

The morning and early afternoon program will be held at Grandma Mary’s Café, 216 Hwy 14, Arena, Wisconsin followed by hands-on use of the FAMACHA score card at Double Ewe Farm near Arena in mid-afternoon. Registration starts at 10:45 a.m., and the hands-on program at the farm should conclude by approximately 4:30 p.m. Advance registration is required ($30 per person, $20 per person for each additional family/farm member) and is limited to the first 65 people registering. Lunch and the FAMACHA score card are included.

Contact Gene Schriefer, Iowa County Extension Office, 303 W. Chapel St., Dodgeville, WI 53533 (608-930-9850, gene.schriefer@ces.uwex.edu, http://iowa.uwex.edu/) for a brochure and registration form or for more information. The brochure and registration form also can be found at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Department of Animal Sciences, Extension Sheep and Goat web site (http://fyi.uwex.edu/wisheepandgoat/).

 FAMACHA workshop brochure

Access USDA’s Lamb Dashboard

Keep up with the latest marketing trends and information for your flock by accessing the USDA Lamb Dashboard information below:

http://mpr.datamart.ams.usda.gov/amsdashboard/lamb/Lamb_Dashboard.html

 

 

 

Wisconsin sheep business with UW-Madison Shepherd Todd Taylor

 

Todd Taylor, ShepherdScreen Shot 2015-02-19 at 3.35.32 PM
Department of Animal Science
Arlington Agricultural Research Station
UW-Madison College of Agricultural and Life Sciences
toddtaylor@wiscmail.wisc.edu
(608) 846-5858

Todd Taylor talks with Sevie Kenyon about the research and extension work with the sheep at the Arlington Agricultural Research Station and gives insight into the Wisconsin Sheep Business.

3:06 Total Time

0:16 – Sheep at the Arlington Agricultural Research Station
0:37 – Teaching, extension and research
1:02 – Sheep in Wisconsin
1:26 – UW-Madison sheep on the road
2:03 – Sheep great second business
2:27 – Full slate of sheep events

To hear the interview live – please click on the following link:  https://www.morningagclips.com/wisconsin-sheep-business/  

Otherwise read the interview transcript below:

TRANSCRIPT

Sevie Kenyon: Lambing season at the Arlington Agricultural Research Station. We are visiting today with Todd Taylor, Shepherd Arlington Agricultural Research Station University of Wisconsin Madison in the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, and I’m Sevie Kenyon.

Todd, tell us a little bit about the flock here at the Arlington Station.

Todd Taylor: The flock here at the station consists of roughly 300 ewes. We lamb twice a year, once in the fall for the month of September and October and again the first of January to the first of April. We run four registered breeds, we’ve got Hampshire’s, Polypay’s, Rambouillet’s, and Targhee’s geared towards wool and meat production.

Sevie Kenyon: Well Todd, what do you do with the sheep here on the station?

Todd Taylor: We are a teaching research and extension facility. While we do some research, we’re geared a lot towards teaching and extension work. We furnish sheep for numerous classes across the animal science department. Everything from the sheep production class to the animal handling and welfare class, to the meat eval composition class on campus. The vet students come out and use us quite extensively as well.

Sevie Kenyon: Todd, tell us a little bit about the sheep business here in the state of Wisconsin.

Todd Taylor: The neat thing about it is, that it is not a big industry in terms of numbers of sheep, but there are a lot of flocks. They are small flocks, so there are a lot of people involved and a lot of diversity. Everything from people that want to produce lamb and direct market it to a lot of fiber artists that deal with the hand spinning type of sheep.

Sevie Kenyon: Todd you do a fair amount of showing of these sheep, can you describe that enterprise for us?

Todd Taylor: That’s kind of how we get ourselves out and get seen by the public and also kind of use it as a recruiting tool for students to come to the Department of Animal Science in the College of Ag, and in the program. These students see us out showing and exhibiting our sheep and a lot of them are involved in that program as well. We offer some summer internships for students to come in and help with showing, fitting, preparation and actually hauling and exhibiting these sheep. We traditionally go to the national Polypay and Targhee shows and sales every year and also show at the Wisconsin State Fair, and one of the large ram sales at the Midwest Stud Ram Sale in Sedalia, Missouri.

Sevie Kenyon: Todd if people are interested in sheep, what do they actually need to get started?

Todd Taylor: Not a whole lot. I’ve seen over the last few years a lot of older farmers that have been in the dairy business that have gone out and still want to maintain their ag background, have actually converted their dairy facilities into a very workable sheep facility for lambing and for housing lambs, and growing lambs out. A lot of opportunity in the sheep business right now.

Sevie Kenyon: What are some of the events you have here at the station related to sheep?

Todd Taylor: We annually have our Sheep Days program in March and then our big event that culminates kind of our whole program throughout the year is our annual production sale that we have at the end of September. It is a student run sale, we actually give animal science students credit for helping us organize, promote, advertise, prepare the sheep and actually put the sale on that day. And then we put on a shearing school in the fall where we bring in 15-20 students a year to teach them how to properly handle and remove the wool efficiently from sheep.

Sevie Kenyon: We’ve been visiting with Todd Taylor, Shepard at the Arlington Agricultural Research Station University of Wisconsin Madison in the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, and I’m Sevie Kenyon.

Photos courtesy of UW-Madison CALS

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Virtual toolbox for Sheep & Goat Farmers

small ruminant toolbox usbWith demand for their meat, milk and fiber growing, sheep and goats offer an appealingly solid return on investment, particularly for beginning, small-scale and limited-resource farmers. But there is a lot to learn, so success can be a challenge. “Information is power. You can make a lot of mistakes if you don’t under­stand small ruminants,” says Linda Coffey, a National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) specialist.

Now, farmers and Extension educators have an expansive new resource available to them in the Small Ruminant Toolbox. The toolbox is a collection of practical, proven materials covering a wide variety of topics, including pasture and herd management, marketing, pest management, qual­ity of life and whole-farm sustainability.

Toolbox materials are free to access online or can be purchased on a USB flash drive at www.sare.org/ruminant-toolbox. Read more »

Updated Shearer List – 12/20/13

Q Fever Antibodies in Sheep and Goats and in Farmers on Sheep and Goat Farms

This article is not intended to alarm sheep and goat producers but instead to make them aware and more knowledgeable about a disease of sheep and goats (Q fever) that can also infect humans. Much of the information in this article comes from an article that appeared in the March 2013 issue of Ontario Sheep News, “Prevalence of Q fever Antibodies in Ontario Sheep and their Farm Families” by Shannon Meadows (pages 14-15).

Facts about Q Fever:

  • Caused by Coxiella Burnetii, a bacterium that infects sheep, goats, cattle and humans
  • Symptoms in sheep include abortion, stillbirth, early lamb mortality
  • Infected animals may not show symptoms of the disease but may shed the organism in birth fluids, products of pregnancy (placenta, etc), milk and feces
  • Bacteria may be aerosolized and spread in dust
  • Infections in people:
    • 60% don’t have signs of disease
    • Common acute symptoms: fever, headaches, muscle pain
    • Uncommon acute symptoms: pneumonia, hepatitis, meningitis
    • Rare symptoms: heart and liver disease, chronic fatigue syndrome
  • Acute Q Fever very responsive to antibiotics
  • Serological tests required for diagnosis (humans, animals)

Read more »

Welcome to the Wisconsin Sheep and Goat Extension Website!

2 GoatsAs this website develops, it will be updated with current news and events relating to sheep and goats, informational fact sheets and helpful links.  Please visit again to see the updated information.

Please contact David L. Thomas with any questions at dlthomas@wisc.edu or by phone at (608) 263-4306.