The local county fair
It’s that time of the year again, fair time. This year our fair was much later due to some changes made by the fair board. So instead of having fair in June, we had fair in September. I don’t think my brothers and sisters minded at all though. It gave them more time to work with their show animals.
Getting the animals ready for fair can be a lot of work. Some of the cows need a lot of training while others are naturally ready for the show ring. My sisters cow has been to the fair a few times so she remembers what to do. You can just walk up to her in her pen and put the rope halter on. Some of the other cows needed more training, so they were walked as much as possible.
The animals that we showed
This year, we took less animals than usual. We only had 16! We’ve taken many more in the past so this year it was pretty easy.
- Deltra (Holstein 3 year old cow)
- Ruby (a red and white Holstein)
- Kerena (Holstein aged cow)
- Mallese (Jersey Cow)
**Left: Deltra, Right: Kerena**
- Khloe (from the K family, same family as Kerena our aged cow)
- Lilly (my sister showed this one at the Ca state show in Sacramento in July)
- Tammi (dad is the son of the cow that won the World Dairy Expo last year in Madison, Wi)
- Blossom & Bethany (Jerseys)
- Lemon & Lime (I have no idea how they got these names)
- Physical (dads name is Boxer)
- Cortez (dads name is GoldChip)
- Solid (aka Chuck)
**Left: Lime, Right: Cortez**
Judging Dairy Cows: the scorecard
A lot of people think that all cows look the same, but they’re not noting there’s actually a lot of differences.
Since there’s so many differently aged cows at the show, the cows are divided into different classes based on their birthday. Usually larger animals have an advantage so dividing the cows up like this helps minimize the size advantage.
The judge looks for a variety of things when judging, with the ultimate goal of finding the best and most ideal cow. The following is some of the things he looks at:
Udder is the most important part when judging cows with 40% of the total score. You want the cows udder to be high signifying youthfulness. You also want her to have strong suspensory ligaments in her udder which will help hold her together as she ages.
Dairy Strength 25%
Dairy strength has become more important over the years. You want a cow that is sharp, angular, and flat boned, but also with some notable strength. You want the perfect cow to have a wide chest, and a deep sweeping rib.
Frame includes all the skeletal parts of the cow including the rump, front end, back, and the cows overall size. You want a cow that is tall and long from end to end.
Feet and Legs 20%
You want a cow to have good feet and legs. If the cow doesn’t have great feet and legs, she will have problems getting around, and probably really affect her ability to produce milk. So the judge makes sure his top pick has great feet and legs.
After looking at all these categories, the judge decides which animals exceeds in all these categories, and chooses the animals he thinks are the best.
**Left: my sister clipping Tammi’s topline, Right: my brother shaving Blossom**
**My sister showing Ruby**
**My sister winning honorable mention in the heifer show**
Surprisingly, we did pretty well this year. Malice, my sisters Jersey won champion Jersey cow! Lilly my sisters young show heifer won honorable mention which was pretty significant. Lilly is still pretty young so we weren’t expecting her to do that good. Many of the heifers won their classes. And our bulls also did pretty good. Physical took Grand Champion and Cortez was Reserve Champion of the Holstein bulls. Lemon and Lime won the Jersey bulls taking Grand Champion and Reserve Champion. It was pretty exciting!
**Left: hanging out with Lime, Right: talking to people about her heifer**