We often advertise that we are an ADGA Plus* herd, or that we participate in “performance programs.” Those that have been breeding registered dairy goats for a bit will know what that means, but if you’re new to dairy goats, you may wonder why we think these programs are important. Our opinions are just that—opinions, and only our own—but we do feel the performance programs are valuable assets to our breeding program, and we’d like to explain why.
I don’t want to take up a lot of space going into in-depth descriptions of the different performance programs (maybe in another post), but when I use the term “performance programs,” I am talking about the programs in which herds can actively participate through the American Dairy Goat Association (ADGA), which are the Dairy Herd Improvement Registry (DHIR) (“milk test”) and Linear Appraisal (LA) programs, along with the genetic evaluations/data automatically calculated by ADGA using these programs (for example, Elite List-designated animals and Super Genetics-designated animals)**.
DHIR and LA records become a permanent part of an animal’s record, and are searchable through the Council on Dairy Cattle Breeding (CDCB) database and ADGA Genetics website, respectively. We feel it is important to build this data on all members of our herd for two main reasons:
It’s probably obvious that I feel that these programs are very important—and I do. But, I will caveat that I certainly don’t make *all* my decisions based on performance data. I have no magical cut-off LA score, nor do I have a specific milk production number, that results in removing a doe from the breeding program. There are simply too many factors at play for me to hold to a very rigid use of performance program data/information, and how I use the information most definitely depends on the animal in front of me, what I know of the animal’s relatives and how they matured/what they produced, and any other influencing factors (did she just not fill well/was she out of condition on LA day? Was she a first freshener with a single kid that I just didn’t have the patience to milk through to 240 days? Etc., etc.).
And finally, I think it is important to remember that these programs are tools, and as such, you get to use them in a way that works best for YOU. Like I explained above, I don’t have any magic numbers—but maybe you do.
*ADGA Plus is simply an ADGA program that offers a small discount when you register for both DHIR and LA and pre-purchase DNA typing kits; therefore, you know that a herd using the ADGA Plus designation and/or logo is participating in all the available programs.
**The place to start on the ADGA website for more information on their performance programs is here: http://adga.org/performance-programs/
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Brook Valley Farm
Our blog is a collection of thoughts and opinions related to raising dairy goats (all opinions are our own and are just that--opinions--and are subject to change. For more on that, please read the fine print at the bottom of the page). Please feel free to join the conversation by commenting or contacting us directly!