2009-Waldron_et_al - Heritability of juniper consumption in...

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Willingham and S. Y. Landau D. F. Waldron, C. A. Taylor, Jr., J. W. Walker, E. S. Campbell, C. J. Lupton, T. D. Heritability of juniper consumption in goats doi: 10.2527/jas.2008-1140 originally published online Oct 24, 2008; 2009.87:491-495. J Anim Sci http://jas.fass.org/cgi/content/full/87/2/491 the World Wide Web at: The online version of this article, along with updated information and services, is located on www.asas.org by on February 2, 2011. jas.fass.org Downloaded from
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ABSTRACT: Data from goats (n = 505), collected over a 4-yr period, were used to estimate the herita- bility of juniper consumption. Juniper consumption was determined by near-infrared spectroscopy on fecal samples (n = 1,080) collected from female Boer-cross goats grazing pastures with a variety of plants, includ- ing juniper. The animals with records were progeny of 72 sires. Individual goats had from 1 to 4 observations over a 4-yr period. Predicted juniper consumption for individual observations ranged from −5 to +62% of the diet. Data were analyzed with a mixed model that included management group as a fixed effect, BW as a covariate, and permanent environment, animal, and residual as random effects. Management group was a significant source of variation. Least squares means of juniper consumption, as a percentage of the total in- take, for management groups varied from 19 to 47%. Heritability of juniper consumption was 13%. Repeat- ability of juniper consumption was 31%. These results suggest that progress to selection for goats that will consume greater amounts of juniper is obtainable, but is expected to be slow. Key words: diet selection, goat, juniper ©2009 American Society of Animal Science. All rights reserved. J. Anim. Sci. 2009. 87:491–495 doi:10.2527/jas.2008-1140 INTRODUCTION The use of small ruminants to provide environmental services such as weed control and landscape manage- ment is becoming increasingly important (Popay and Field, 1996; Martyniuk and Olech, 1997). Dense stands of Ashe’s ( Juniperus ashei J. Buchholz) and Pinchot’s ( Juniperus pinchotii Sudw.) juniper reduce forage pro- duction and plant diversity, interfere with handling and movement of livestock, degrade wildlife habitat, increase volatile fuel loads, and reduce the availability of water (Hamilton and Ueckert, 2004). Because of the negative consequences of juniper encroachment, juniper is considered to be the largest economic and ecologi- cal problem facing land management in the Edwards Plateau today (Taylor, 2008). By preferring some plant species and avoiding others, free-grazing livestock sig- nificantly affect the botanical composition and bio- diversity of natural plant communities. Browsing by goats can effectively reduce encroachment of juniper on rangelands that have been cleared by mechanical or pyrrhic control methods (Taylor, 2008). Monoterpenes in juniper limit consumption by animals (Riddle et al., 1996). In a review of the use of livestock to manage vegetation on pastures, Rook et al. (2004) identified the
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2009-Waldron_et_al - Heritability of juniper consumption in...

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