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Dairy cattle judging CD released by UW-Madison

Dairy Judging Made Easy, a new interactive CD-ROM produced at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, demystifies oral reasons and explains linear evaluation, setting beginning judges on the road to successful dairy cattle judging.

The CD is aimed at 4-H- and FFA-level judging students, but even college-level dairy judges will find it useful, according to producer Ted Halbach, dairy cattle evaluation instructor and extension youth specialist at the UW-Madison”s College of Agricultural and Life Sciences.

Part 1, which inexperienced judging students will find especially useful, covers the parts of a cow and provides thorough descriptions of each trait/body part. Students can take an interactive quiz to test their identification skills.

Part 2, Learning to Judge, uses linear evaluation to teach about the traits listed on a Purebred Dairy Cattle Association”s Dairy Cow Unified Score Card. “Nearly 85 percent of the PDCA Score Card can be accounted for by linear traits,” Halbach says. “By using linear traits that all have clearly defined points of measurement, students learn the range of the trait from good to bad, and what is ideal for each trait. FFA has linear evaluation in their contests and this CD also provides vo-ag instructors with a visual and descriptive teaching tool to better prepare their teams.”

Part 3, Judging a Class, focuses on oral reasons. This section gives students a sample set of high-scoring collegiate reasons by Laurie Winkelman, high individual at the 2000 4-H and 2002 national collegiate dairy judging contests. “We share with students how we formulate oral reasons, and discuss the detail and organization needed to get high scores in this part of the competition,” Halbach says. “Kids just seem to ”get it” quicker after seeing this CD.”

Part 4 features printable forms and judging resources, such as placing cards, scorecards, and type analysis questionnaires that can be used by judging team coaches to conduct successful practice sessions.

Halbach”s UW-Madison dairy judging teams have won 10 regional and national contests in his seven seasons as coach. His 2002 squad won the Intercollegiate Dairy Cattle Judging national championship and each of his teams have placed in the top five at the national contest, including second-place finishes in 1998, 2001 and 2003. Halbach was high individual at the 1980 collegiate national contest. He and his father, Gene, are the only father and son to both earn the high individual award.

Production of the CD-ROM was funded by a grant from the Babcock Institute at the UW-Madison, with the cooperation of Hoard”s Dairyman. The CD-ROM will be available soon in Spanish.

Dairy Judging Made Easy: Interactive CD-ROM costs $25 and is available through the Hoard”s Dairyman online bookstore or the Babcock Institute.