We are active participants in the Dairy Herd Improvement Registry, also know as Production Testing. This means that what goes in the milk pail is weighed, recorded, and analyzed for protein, butterfat, and somatic cell count. These records are kept in a national registry, allowing our milk data to be verified and giving our goats an opportunity to win awards based on their milking milestones.
The most valuable tool a small-scale goat dairy can have in their arsenal is Linear Appraisal. A trained appraiser evaluates our breeding stock with numerical values for various linear and structural traits. We use these numbers and codes to better help us in breeding selection from year to year. Linear Appraisal is a fabulous opportunity to learn more about our own goats and what to work toward in the future.
Sometimes you will see "SG" or "SGCH" in a goat's pedigree. This means they have obtained their Superior Genetics award. The SG achievement is not easily acquired and can only be earned by being in the top 15% AND have a Production Type Index value of 0 or greater for their breed. To earn the SGCH recognition, the animal must earn their SG designation as well as have earned their permanent championship in the show ring.
Star Milkers, recognized as *M, are usually the number one goal of every herd. *M can be earned on the basis of Milk, Butterfat OR Protein. The number of stars appearing after a doe’s name refers to the number of consecutive generations (on the maternal side of her pedigree) of animals that qualified for a star. For example, a 3*M means the doe, her dam, and her maternal grandam are all star milkers. The stars do not all have to be earned in the same fashion to be counted as consecutive.
Elite designation refers to production and is generated from the CDCB evaluation process, through participation in DHIR. Animals included on these lists must meet a strict set of criteria for genetic merit based on Milk Fat Protein Dollars (MFP$), an economic index primarily useful for commercial enterprises. MFP$ for an animal predicts the economic value of the contributions to progeny of genetic advantage of milk, fat, and protein production. Does designated elite are in the top 5% of their breed nationally and bucks are in the top 15%.
We have had both designations in our herd in the past. When we reentered the dairy goat world two years ago, we made a goal to earn awards for our herd like we did back in the dairy days. But just like Rome, Herd Improvement and Genetics Awards aren't built in a day. We are actively showing and participating in DHIR, working hard at earning some milk stars. We were on schedule to participate in Linear Appraisal in April, but that was sadly cancelled due to Covid-19. Our hope is that we will be able to be rescheduled later in the year.