In the world of animal production today, the importance of conformation and performance is on the rise. We search for the most correct animals with the greatest combination of qualities. In the world of dairy cattle it is no different; you’re looking for the “good uddered dairy cow.” There is a large need for the understanding of dairy judging in the production world today. Without the ability to measure sustainability and performance, and increase the production of these cattle we will lose the ability to provide the nation with so many different dairy products. My thoughts and knowledge of the dairy industry both have been amplified since joining the KSU Dairy Judging Team.
An Unusual Start
My background in the dairy industry and dairy judging is very short. With my Grandpa operating a dairy (back in Michigan) I had the opportunity to help in the milking parlor and even show some registered Holsteins, however my knowledge of the industry and the way it works stopped there. My judging experience is all in Livestock Judging where I have competed in 4-H, FFA, and a few collegiate events.
The 2010 team was very small and looking for new recruits to take on the challenge of dairy judging, this is how Beth Holz and I became members of the KSU dairy judging team. After a very rough introduction, a lot of help and a quick contest, I was hooked.
You don’t need a background in dairy to be a member of the team; all you need is the passion. If you want to get involved start by enrolling in the dairy cattle evaluation class (ASI 396) taught by the coach of the team, Jon Pretz.
The team competes in four main contests during the year; the Southwest in Ft. Worth Texas, the World Dairy Expo in Madison Wisconsin, the Accelerated Genetics contest in Viroqua Wisconsin and the NAILE in Louisville Kentucky. Along with these the team often travels to smaller contests that we are invited to and on the way stop at many dairy farms to practice and learn more about judging. To learn more about the team’s history and contest results check out our page on the k-state website! http://www.asi.k-state.edu/p.aspx?tabid=152
Motivation, Dedication & A Whole Lot of Cows
Judging dairy cattle is a fun and exciting way to learn more about a dynamic agricultural industry. You can’t be afraid to get dirty, or reach out of your comfort zone just a bit. When I began judging I didn’t know what I had gotten into, however with motivation, dedication and a whole lot of cows, it’s been the experience of a lifetime.
Being on the Dairy Cattle Judging team has allowed me to learn so much and get to know so many great people even better than I did before. It has been the greatest opportunity and I would recommend judging to everyone! And always remember, “You gotta want it!”
By Sarah Harris