Most Goat Ranchers are eternal optimists. We watch the weather and just know we are going to get plenty of rain, enough to make the grass, forbs, and browse grow like weeds! In the Southwest a half an inch of rain is cause for celebration and a great flurry of seeding and fertilizing pastures and fields. For some in the High Country a heavy snow is heaven because it means that there will be plenty of soil moisture for a plethora of native grasses.
This last year has not been good for many folks in Texas and the Southwest. It was so dry that practically everything shriveled up and blew away and what stuck around burned as wildfires practically took over the landscape and destroyed many goat raisers homes, pastures, and facilities. Along about the end of August, Gwen and I stopped worrying about grass fires because there was none and the dirt doesnít burn. We started cutting Ellum trees for the goats to eat and thanks to the mild Fall, we were able to cut trees on into November before they lost their leaves. Trees are a good emergency ration but they wonít grow back any time soon and we held off cutting the Oaks because they supply an acorn crop, which we rely on too.
Being the optimists that we are, many breeders are thinking about restocking. Many Southwestern goat raisers sold off a lot of goats because they couldnít afford to feed them. Here at the Rancho, we were carrying about 130+ nannies and things were looking up until the drought came. We begged, borrowed and bartered to keep them for as long as we could and eventually gave in and sold some to other breeders for recips, meat herd nannies, and for some, the sale barn. We sold all of the Spring kids even though there were several that should have been retained (Betty Peterson had pity on me and bought Pretty Fast, who was gonna come home if she didnít sell!). We reduced to near 70+ nannies and would have sold more, but the rains finally came. Gwen got the urge when a good deal came along and bought the Magnificent Seven, and I bought a nanny or two. The rains stuck for a while and the Fall kids came, and now we have decided to keep three Does because they are just too good to sell! It didnít take long to get back on the plus side of 80!
If you are restocking after the drought, then you probably have already found out that the day of inexpensive nannies is gone with the wildfires. The decent prices are there, but for what? Brush nannies and culls! Hereís hoping that you choose and spend wisely as restocking with good nannies is going to take some time and patience. The few nannies that you can find in the states most affected by the drought will be of good quality since most of the marginal stock went to the sale barn. The quality nannies you find will have a quality price too!
With the high cost of living today, traveling for purchases must be given a lot of thought. It seems that even the breakfast deals at IHOP and Dennyís are getting expensive. By the time you calculate the fuel (especially hauling a trailer) and food and a Motel, it can run into some money. We have bought some goats at the premium sales with mixed results and if you ask most folks who attend, they figure that that is the best way to buy. You can inspect them and find the consignor and ask questions. The opposite end of the spectrum is the sale barn and we would never buy there. Thereís usually a good reason why the goat is there and itís not due to their superior production. Somewhere in between would be the ETGRA Spring Open Sale. We are giving the breeders from the Eastern part of Texas an opportunity to market their stock to folks without having to haul them west to Waco, Hamilton, or Goldthwaite. It gives folks a chance to buy some goats that have great worm tolerance, are brought up by their Mamaís on superior, lush Eastern Texas forage so they know how to go out and find their groceries, and you donít have to drive to Cairo (Illinois) to buy some quality goats. So come on out to our nice little country sale, have a good look at our East Texas Bucks, Does, and show wethers, and have a good BBQ sandwich with chips and a soda or some other snack provided by the Elkhart 4-H club. Be prepared to be pleased with the prices of our stock. We hope to see you there!
The East Texas Goat Raisers Association will hold The Spring Open Sale on March 3rd, 2012 at the Ike Carden Arena in Fairfield, TX. Freestone County has a wonderful facility with covered pens, and a covered arena. This is an auction sale and is open to anyone who has goats for sale. Check-in begins at 7:30am and ends at noon. Sale starts at 1 p.m. Consignees pay $7 for each meat goat and $10 a head for breeding stock, registered or not registered. Animals will be checked for signs of illness and registered animals must be tattooed. Please read the sales rules posted on the Sale Information page at http://www.etgra.com/sales.htm. The Elkhart 4-H will be providing concessions and Jake Cooper will be working his magic with the smoker to provide the BBQ brisket! We welcome anyone who would like to vend their products.
We are planning to schedule the East Texas Boer Goat Show on May 12th. I will nail down the info on Judges and such by next month if all goes as planned. Go to www.etgra.com for more information on events and about our association or friend us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/groups/ETGRA/.
The Teague Young Farmers will be hosting a Lamb & Goat Show Saturday May 26th at the Teague High School Ag Barn in Teague, Texas. This Texas Junior Livestock Association sanctioned event will feature two rings and Judges. Ring A will have points, jackpots, and Buckles for Grand and Reserve Champion. Ring B will have point and prizes. Details and contact info to follow.
The PIONEERS 4H will be hosting Central New Mexico Goat Days, April 21-22, 2012.
What started out as a small pen sale has grown. In 2012 they will be hosting two ABGA sanctioned shows with Judges Terry Taylor and Jeremy Church. There will be 2 Nigerian Pygmy Goat Association shows sanctioned by the AGS and ADGA. Judges TBA. Also they are trying to get top breeders to bring market wethers and does for an auction. All this located at the Torrance County Fairgrounds, 20 miles off of I-40. The address is 604 Tenth St., Estancia, New Mexico. For more info you can e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or go to http://cnmgd.webs.com/. They are getting the forms ready now and can email them out soon; they hope to have them downloadable in the near future.
The Piney Woods Boer Goat Classic will be April 28th at the Rusk County Expo Center in Henderson, Texas. Registration to begin Friday evening and all goats must be entered by 8:30 Saturday morning. 1st show judge will be Phil Stacey and the 2nd judge will be Lance Ward. This is an ABGA sanctioned show. Two shows in one day. For info contact Linda Teer or Peggy Taylor, Phone: (936) 635-9790 or e-mail email@example.com
Ms. Kelly Edwards (http://www.eggsboers.com/) and Ms. Amanda Smith (http://www.glennshowgoats.com/) invite everyone to the May Day Classic Boer Goat Show at the ECLA grounds in Stephenville, Texas. One JABGA and two Open ABGA shows Saturday and one Open ABGA show Sunday. For all of the information and registration forms go to http://maydayclassic.weebly.com/. The site has info on everything you need to know about the shows including available accommodations. All proceeds go to benefit the Brown County Youth Fair Breeding Goat Show and the Erath County Breeding Goat Show.
Thatís all Iíve got for now. All of the nannies have kidded and we feel fortunate that we have more boys than girls this time around. It looks like we will have some good ones for the Freestone County Youngsters to show in the market wether show at the Fair. They are ready to go so give me a call if you need a goat or buy them at our ETGRA Spring Open Sale. Please continue to buy papers or magazines and support their advertisers by shopping for your wares at their stores. Thank yaíll for your continued support. If your hear tell of any training stuff or any other events then let me know so I can spread the word. Please support your favorite local, area, or national goat breeders associations AND the 4-H and FFA. Call me at 903-388-8528 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any goat gossip. Bye, for now