‘Practice makes perfect,’ for dairy judges
Practice makes perfect for Minneota sophomore Grady Moorse.
Moorse led a strong five-person Minneota FFA team that placed first in Dairy Evaluation at the Region meet Friday morning in Brookings, SD.
In all, two five-person teams, plus two other individuals from Minneota advanced to the State FFA convention set for April 22-24 at the University of Minnesota.
Moorse, who also placed first individually in the Dairy Evaluation category at regionals, practices judging extensively at his family’s farm a mile southeast of Minneota.
“When living on a dairy farm, it is easy to judge,” he said.
“Every time I look at cows, I end up judging them. It’s just a force of habit.”
“Sometimes when judging, I have my brother Garrett help me see certain things. Garrett is also one of our chapter advisors and my Dairy Cattle Team judging coach. Whenever I get bored at home, I often go outside and practice judging on heifers.”
Grady also was first individually in last year’s region competition as a freshman.
Logan Schuelke, a freshman, was fifth individually in Dairy Evaluation at the region competition last week.
The top four individuals and teams in each category, as well as the top six individuals in the Dairy Handler category advance to state.
Besides Grady and Logan, other team members of the winning Dairy Evaluation team are: Emily Buysse, a senior; Brooke Moorse, an eighth-grader; and Josh Schuelke, a freshman.
The General Livestock judging team from Minneota was third and also advanced to state.
Team members are: Carly Van Keulen (fourth individually), senior; Rachel Vlaminck, sophomore; Gared Moorse, senior; Brenden Kimpe, sophomore; and Brady Gifford, eighth-grader. Kimpe, who one day earlier qualified for the State Speech meet, will also compete at the State FFA Convention in Extemporaneous Speaking after qualifying for that event earlier this school year.
Zack Fier, a seventh-grader, was sixth in the Dairy Handler category at regions.
“I’m very impressed with all our team members,” said first-year Minneota FFA Advisor Matt Buysse.
“They put in the practice time on their own time between sports and other activities. And now that practice time is paying off for them.”
Dairy Evaluation judging is based on how sound the cow looks, the udder, and the general structure of the cow, Buysse explained.
“They have four cows in each class to compare and they have to rank them one to four,” Buysse said. “Then they have a written portion where they have to explain why they ranked them that way.”
When judging, Grady Moorse has developed a system that has been working for him.
“I look for general appearance, which is if the cow looks healthy,” he explained.
“Not too skinny, not too fat, and if the cow has a nice flat top line.”
“The next thing I look for is how well she walks, if she is favoring a leg or just is not as strong as she should be. If the cow is milking, then I look for how much milk she can hold, how even her four quarters are, and if her udder has strong attachment.”
General Livestock judging is similar to Dairy Evaluation except competitors are required to judge four pigs, four calves and four sheep.
And they must also rank each of them one to four and then provide a written explanation for their rankings.
Dairy Handler is based on showing cattle more than judging.