Judging Holsteins!

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Well-known member
Feb 23, 2005
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Prince Edward Island, Canada
Hey guys!

I was wondering if you can help me out. I am new here (obviously) and to the whole cow scene in general. I want to develop an eye for determining which cows are good or not, just for fun, as some of my friends are really big into dairy cows and I want to know what they are talking about, and have educated conversations. The often look at pictures of dairy cows (especially holsteins) and talk about which one is the best, and I have no sweet clue why they choose them!

I was wondering if you guys could point me in the direction of some really nice cows (especially holsteins), and explain what qualities make them desireable.

Any help would be great! I don't want to be so clueless anymore!

TCFC (feels totally in the dark about eyeballing holstein cows!) :roll:
We look for a big cow - 1600 to 1800. Tall too. Udder is major concern. Look for a large bag - should protrude out between her hind legs. Look for uniform teats - straight across. Should see large heavy veins standing out all around the bag.
Find a Hoard's Dairyman magazine. They run a judging class in the magazine bout this time of year.
Ha ha ha, yes, that is the magazine that got me into this mess. My friend asked me to pick which holstein I thought was the best, and I picked, apparently, the worst one. I got a good laughing at :roll: . I want to try and not make a fool of myself next time :p

Thanks for the replies guys! Keep 'em coming!!

Take a look through this site. It looks like you can get their magazine for free.

I don't know much about dairy cows, but would imagine production is EVERYTHING in holsteins since it says something like 3-4 years is their average production span



67,914 pounds milk 2x 365-day

Good luck developing an eye for them!
It's all in the timing. Last week-end I deleted all of the pictures and text from the cattle judgin supplement that was in last years Hoards. I'll look around and see if I can still find them

If your friends went off this years Hoard's contest how did they know which cow was best? The results aren't out yet. Every class that Hoard's uses are all great cows. Several years ago 19 of the 20 cows they used were rated superior. It is almost a matter of personal perference in judging them they are so close.
Perhaps next time you and your friends are looking at these pictures, ask them why they picked that cow, what, about the cow you chose was wrong. Some of the good conformational "qualities" that are looked for are a straight top-line, good udder formation (symetrical) teats not too short or too long, large udder. The pictures of the cows from rear-to-front you look for a straight line from tailhead to top of the cow's head, hip pins even(not one side raised up higher than the other) straight legs, but not "posty" legs. The pics of head-to-rear view, you look for chest width, not too narrow or too broad, legs straight not toed out too much or toed in too much. Hope this helps.

It was last year's results...

I asked, and they did explain after laughing, we are good friends, so it was not a mean laugh!
Yeah, I always showed horses, and was a pretty good judge of horseflesh. I showed a sheep once and I got a lesson in looking at beef cows, but dairy cows are totally foreign territory :p

You guys are a great help! So glad I stumbled upon this site! A great replacement to the horse forums after having to sell my horse!


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