Livestock, Dairy teams bring home trophies

Nichole Griffith

Nichole Griffith

Livestock Judging Team

The SDSU Livestock Judging Team recently took sixth place out of 33 teams overall in the national contest at the North American International Livestock Exposition in Louisville, KY. Kelly Bruns, Animal Science Professor, coaches the 23-member team comprised of juniors and seniors from all majors.

Team members usually judge three species each of cattle, sheep, hogs and horses based on quality. The team practiced three times a week and Saturdays at farms in Minnesota and South Dakota.

“If they are judging a breeding animal, contestants will look for structural correctness, among other things,” said Bruns. “If they are judging a market animal, contestants will look for carcass traits, such as the muscle-to-fat ratio,” added Bruns.

“In practice we work on our evaluations and improving our communications skills. It’s also fun to travel and see livestock from all across the country,” Mike Leheska, a member of this year’s judging team, said.

Leheska also said that teamwork is important on all ends of the judging process.

After they have placed their animal, contestants usually have less than 15 minutes to prepare a two-minute oral presentation for the judges to explain why they placed their animal the way they did.

“Students develop some excellent impromptu speaking and vocabulary skills,” said Bruns.

Students are eligible for one year of participation, and the judging season usually runs from the spring to the fall.

SDSU’s Livestock Judging Team has competed at the Sioux Falls Farm Show and has also traveled to Houston, Texas, Austin, Minn. and Wichita, Kan.

Dairy Cattle Judging Team

The SDSU Dairy Cattle Judging Team brought home top honors in Linear Scoring at the World Dairy Expo held in Madison,Wis.

Linear Scoring was an event held in addition to the usual judging and reasons portion of the Intercollegiate Dairy Cattle Judging Contest.

Linear scoring is a method used to evaluate cows. Contestants score four animals from 12 classes based on 15 different traits reflecting the performance potential of each cow.

Holstein, Brown Swiss, Gursey, Milking Shorthair and red and white Holstein were some of the breeds judged. Contestants look at such traits as leg set and udder length among other traits.

Contestants must also explain why they placed a cow the way they did in an oral presentation to the judges.

Winners have the lowest score that is closest to the judges score.

Hope Remiger, a member of this year’s team, said that being on the dairy cattle judging team is fun.

“We have fun, but it is also important to get to know your teammates so you will know how they will score and so you can work together to get consistent score,” Remiger said.

Remiger took fourth place overall at the Expo and Darin Zoellner ninth overall. Team members are :Stacy Mueller, Melissa Pinkert, Hope Remiger and Darin Zoellner. They are coached by Darrel Rennich.