By Susan Himes
SAN ANGELO — The Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Centerin San Angelo held their annual sheep and goat events over the weekend, attracting over 300 participants.
Sheep and Goat Field Day
The morning of Aug. 16, the 46th Sheep and Goat Field Day was held at the center. Attendees toured the center and listened to Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service specialists discussing their work related to small ruminants being done at the center.
“The field day was a great success, and attendees learned about several active research projects – from new genomics tools for on-farm testing to improve sheep genetics, to using fire and goats to control brush,” said John Walker, Ph.D., AgriLife center director, San Angelo.
“Highlights of the field day were the official unveiling of Miss TAM‘Ewe’niversity, the latest addition to the San Angelo collection of sheep statues and the presentation of the Fred T. Earwood award to Dr. Jake Landers, retired extension range specialist,” he said.
Texas Sheep and Goat Expo
The Texas Sheep and Goat Expo kicked off the afternoon of Aug. 16 at the Spur Arena. Industry experts from Texas A&M University and other organizations presented a wide range of topics related to the industry. Educational sessions on Friday included a sheep and goat carcass evaluation; health and management; integrative crop and livestock systems; business and marketing; and wildlife management.
The Expo is the country’s largest event of its kind, attracting participants from across the U.S. and countries as far away as Australia.
“The success of the 2019 Texas Sheep and Goat Expo can be attributed to the diversity of presentations and speakers,” said Robert Pritz, AgriLife Extension regional program leader and event organizer, San Angelo.
“One highlight of the event was the carcass evaluation session, with the objective of showing sheep and goat producers the important processes involved when taking a live animal to the retail counter for consumers,” he said. “The event is always heralded for its hands-on approach to topics with information being shared from both industry professionals as well as respected sheep and goat producers from across the country.”
Industry experts, sessions and sale
Keynote speakers for the event were John Nielsen-Gammon, Ph.D., Texas A&M Regents professor of atmospheric science, Texas State Climatologist and director of the Texas Center for Climate Studies, College Station; Greg Ahart, vice president of sales, Superior Farms, Sacramento, California; and Benny Cox, American Sheep Industry Association president, Producers Livestock Auction sales manager, San Angelo.
The sessions on Aug. 17 were topic-centered with participants choosing sessions related to hair sheep, wool sheep, club lambs, angora goats or meat goats. The expo also included a day-long hands-on course for kids and a sale.
“Consignments to the 2019 Texas Performance Ram Sale had a good range of estimated breeding values, or EBVs, for growth, parasite resistance and reproductive traits,” said Reid Redden, Ph.D., AgriLife Extension sheep and goat specialist, San Angelo. “Buyers were eager to use EBVs in their ram selection decisions. Ram consignors were rewarded with a 20% premium for rams with excellent reproductive EBVs. Buyers tended to be quite interested in parasite resistance EBVs, especially after the most recent wet spring that brought on severe parasite infections across the state.”
For more information regarding news from the Department of Animal Science, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Texas A&M University, please contact Kaitlyn Harkin at Harkin802@tamu.edu or (979) 845-1542.