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Any livestock judges out there?

brandonm_13

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I was just asked to judge a 4-H goat show. I've shown goats and can judge tham fairly well, but since I haven't done a training, I"m a little behind on the lingo. Does anyone have any advice, suggestions, or maybe links to judging practices that I could do. I've got about a month until the show.
 

aussie_cowgirl

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I've judged meat sheep at my local. Bez+ may be better, I know he's done a lot. I wouldn't worry much about lingo, just be clear in your choices and why you have made those choices. And keep it simple. You have a lot of classes to get through so just point out the strongest points. For example in a ram class I might say something like this.

"I place this ram in first place. As he walked out he caught my attention instantly and I was then directed to his tremendous thickness, depth and length. He carries himself well and shows fantastic development.

In second place we have a ram that is also very thick, deep, well developed and also carries himself well but I just feel he hasn't got the length and presence that the ram in front him does."

etc etc...

After a few classes you'll get the hang of it. I was so nervous but after I had finished spectators and breeders both came and congratulated me and said I made very good choices and had very good reasons.
 

Angus Guy

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Best judge I've ever seen was one who didn't give reasons. His reasoning for not giving reasons was pretty simple. The people asked him to place the cattle as he liked them on that day so that is what he did. He also said that if he open his to talk about a class he would probrably open mouth and insert foot, so better not say anything. He did take all the time nessasary after the show to answer questions. Most everybody went home happy with the results.
 

Keren

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There are basically two ways to comment.

The 'correct' way is to always use comparitive terms.

So taking aussie's example,

I place this ram in first place. As he walked out he caught my attention instantly and I was then directed to his tremendous thickness, depth and length. He carries himself well and shows fantastic development.

In second place we have a ram that is also very thick, deep, well developed and also carries himself well but I just feel he hasn't got the length and presence that the ram in front him does."

It would become

The ram in first place is the most eye catching ram in the class, he carried himself round the ring and has the best development of all the rams in the ring today. He is a thicker, deeper and longer ram than the rams below him.

The ram isnt as long as the ram above him, however he is much thicker and deeper than the rams below him.

etc


In reality, that kind of talking begins to get very stilted, so most people dont comment like that. Most people speak descriptively, like aussie's example, rather than comparitively. I like to use a mixture of the two and if I judged the class it would probably be:

The ram in first place today caught my eye as soon as he walked into the ring. He is a clear winner for me today, he displays amazing growth and development compared to the rams below him, he is a thicker, deeper, longer and generally a more muscular ram.

The ram in second place today again is a very thick, deep and well muscled ram, very similar in type to the ram above him. But I felt he lacked length compared to the ram above him, which is why he is in second place today.

The ram in third place which not as powerful and muscled as the rams above him, is a very long ram with excellent feet and legs. It is his structural soundness that placed him over the ram fourth place.

The ram in fourth place is a very well growth ram with well muscled rump, however I feel his is not as structurally sound in the hind end to be placed any higher today.


I also like to state the type of thing I am looking for in the animals, I usually state that at the first class of the day. So with beef cattle it is something like this:

When I judge my young females I am looking for three things: Firstly fertility traits, I need that female to go out there and produce calves for me. Secondly, structural soundness for longevity, I need her produce a calf for me every year for as long as she can. And the final thing I am looking for is carcass attributes, because after all, we are in the beef breeding business.

Bottom line is, speak however you feel comfortable. Dont say 'last'. Try to say positive things about all the animals, but at the same time dont be afraid to give negatives about the animals either. I HATE judges who will only say nice things about the animals. When my heifer is in fourth place I want to know WHY she is in fourth, instead of first or second or third. Without criticism, you cannot improve on those animals.

Communicate with your stewards and with the handlers in the ring; make it a friendly and relaxed environment. No one likes a judge with a stick up his butt. It gets the exhibitors tense, and then the animals get tense, and they wont show well for you.

Do it how you feel comfortable - I have seen a judge who wears a microphone and comments the whole time he is judging a class, so you get his thoughts throughout the entire time. Its very interesting, hearing him mulling over his thoughts. I have seen a judge carry a notebook and jot down notes.

If it helps you, pull the animals into line in the order you are considering, then ask for them to be walked again. Change it around if necessary. Walk them again if need be. It is your showring - take your time - but then again, dont take too long. lol

Trust your instincts - usually the ones that catch your eye are the good ones. For your first look at the class, get as far back on them as you can.

And if you have a hard time picking between two animals - ADMIT IT. When you place them, state in your comments "I had a hard time choosing between these two animals. I think I could place them either way and I would be happy. Indeed, another judge, another day, they might stand differently. However today I have placed the heifer on top for just carrying herself round the ring with a little more balance than the heifer below her."
 

aussie_cowgirl

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The microphone WHILE he was judging would have been interesting. Like you say I don't like to be super comparative because breeders would rather hear about their animal than their animal compared to the other. Sometimes there may be a point I don't talk about in the first 2 places but I'll bring up with the 3rd animal because it stands out so much.

And yeah, there's nothing wrong with changing your mind. pull out your places. Look at them again and make sure you're happy before you make that the final placing. nothing is more annoying then placing only to realise you should have changed something around.

Make sure you do talk. These people are there to compete and to receive feedback. Exhibitors like to hear WHY their animal didn't take the top spot.

I'm glad Keren commented because I realise what I forgot :lol:. Meat sheep people aren't as fussy as cattle people :p. I've just started describing to the audience what I loo for before a class and it really serves me well. I did a judging competition with steers and I started my class as "Today I am judging these steers as heavy weight supermarket beasts to be slaughtered tomorrow. In this class I'm not so much looking for structure, as they are steers for a probably good reason. Instead I am looking for muscling, especially in the high value areas such as the topline and the hind quarter and a good and even fat cover. So today I judge this class as follows..." I think it really helps people see where you're coming from.

And Keren is also right in saying admit when you're having a tough time. Exhibitors aren't putting you on trial, they are asking for your opinion. Nothing wrong with being human. And talk to the exhibitors after. Normally they will come and find you first but if they don't go and talk to them and congratulate them and thank them for having you there. When I judge the meat sheep normally I get a few free beers out of it, normally from the grand champion exhibitors :lol: :lol: :lol:
 

Keren

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aussie_cowgirl":irv2aoxu said:
The microphone WHILE he was judging would have been interesting.

He's a great judge, mainly a steer judge; he walks through the class and comments on each steer, sometimes briefly, sometimes in detail. Its not formal or anything, its just like him talking to himself. Hmm, this steer is pretty light muscled ... he walks on ... this guy's fat scans say 8 and 10 but I think he's leaner than that, might leave him for now ... he walks on ... now this is a good steer, lot of eye muscle on him, fat scans are good, he can go forward (he puts the better ones into the front line for further assessment).

He's an excellent judge, he is spot on, knows what he's looking for. He looks at the fat scans but isnt afraid to dispute them, he will put his hand on the cattle and decide whether they are leaner, fatter or the same as the scans.

If you have a really large class, you might only comment on the microphone about your top 5 or so placings, however, I think its really valuable if you just walk down the line and have a quick quiet word with each unplaced exhibitor. Especially when they are kids. Just something like "you've got a nice steer here, he just isnt finished enough ... your steer is beautifully structured, and in a few months time with a bit more feed he will look even better ... you've done an excellent job training your steer, well done he is so well behaved ... your steer is prepared so well, good job, keep it up"
 

brandonm_13

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Thanks for the help. I don't think placing the animals will be as difficult as talking about them. I know I'm going to talk about what I'm looking for in each group of animals, because I think a lot of breeders think that a brood doe and a meat doe are supposed to be judged on the same characteristics. I'll try to talk about each animal, althought I know there will be a class or two that I'll probably have to break it in half and dismiss the second line. I've been going over my "terms" as well as thinking back shows I've attended or competed in. I think I'll be fine. At least after the first couple of classes have gone through the ring.
 

aussie_cowgirl

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Oh yeah, after the first few you'll be fine. Just gotta say what you're seeing. I know that sounds easier said than done. I love it though. They wanted me for the local cattle judging last year but I was in Europe :( Maybe this year or next year. Let us know how you go.
 

Keren

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aussie_cowgirl":s8kf6kab said:
Oh yeah, after the first few you'll be fine. Just gotta say what you're seeing. I know that sounds easier said than done. I love it though. They wanted me for the local cattle judging last year but I was in Europe :( Maybe this year or next year. Let us know how you go.

ditto (apart from Europe)
 

brandonm_13

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Well, I'm about to leave for the show. Thanks for all the help. BTW, After asking all these questions, I got a call to judge a sheep show AND a goat show tomorrow... So I'll be getting home late tonight with goats on the brain. Leaving early to judge sheep. Waiting around a few hours and then judging goats again. Maybe by the third show, I'll be a little more smooth. Although I expect I'll say that I"m placing the doe in first in front of the ewe, but she would make a good market wether... :p :banana:
 

aussie_cowgirl

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brandonm_13":1vr6080a said:
Well, I'm about to leave for the show. Thanks for all the help. BTW, After asking all these questions, I got a call to judge a sheep show AND a goat show tomorrow... So I'll be getting home late tonight with goats on the brain. Leaving early to judge sheep. Waiting around a few hours and then judging goats again. Maybe by the third show, I'll be a little more smooth. Although I expect I'll say that I"m placing the doe in first in front of the ewe, but she would make a good market wether... :p :banana:

Make sure you tell us how you go. Best of luck! After a couple of classes you'll be fine.
 

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