INDEX



Dairy Cattle Judging

The physical conformation of a dairy cow is evaluated on four (4) categories:

  1. Dairy Strength - 25 points
  2. Rear Feet and Legs - 20 points
  3. Udder - 40 points
  4. Frame - 15 points



Dairy Strength

A cow that excels in dairy strength will have:

  • A feminine head.
  • A long, lean neck.
  • Sharp and angular withers.
  • A long barrel.
  • A lot of space between her ribs.
  • Ribs that are flat in shape (not round).
  • A flat (not round) conformation in the part of her legs between the hocks and dew claws.
  • Wide through the chest floor.
  • Deep in the fore and rear rib.
  • Long in the rib (barrel) region.
  • Very wide through the rib (lots of spring of rib).

Dairy Strength

A cow that lacks dairy strength may have:

  • A short, coarse head.
  • A short, thick neck.
  • Round withers.
  • A short barrel.
  • Little space between her ribs.
  • Round ribs.
  • Round lower legs.
  • Narrow between the front legs (narrow chested).
  • Shallow in the fore and rear rib.
  • Short in the rib (barrel) region.
  • Narrow through the ribs (slab sided).

Dairy Strength

Dairy-Character-Comparison-Pool-Excellent

- Chest Width -

Body Capacity - Chest Width


- Fore and Rear Rib Depth -

Body Capacity - Fore and Rear Rib Depth


- Spring of Rib -

Body Capacity - Spring of Rib


Front Feet and Legs

A cow with correct front feet and legs will have:

  • Hooves which point straight forward.
  • Straight front legs which set square with her body.

A cow which is not correct in the front feet and legs may have:

  • Hooves with toes that turn in or out.
  • Crooked front legs.

Front Feet and Legs

- Front Legs (Front View) - Front Feet Comparison


Rear Feet and Legs

A cow with correct rear feet and legs will have:

  • Hind legs that are placed squarely underneath her when she stands.
  • A moderate set (curve) to her hocks.
  • Clean hocks.
  • Short, strong pasterns.
  • A deep heel.
  • A steep foot angle.
  • Straight hind legs when viewed from the rear.
  • An easy, smooth stride when she walks.


Rear Feet and Legs

A cow with incorrect rear feet and legs may have:

  • Hid legs that attach too far back on the rump (thurl placement too far back).
  • Too much set to the hocks (sickle-hocked) or hocks that are too straight (post-legged).
  • Swelling or puffiness in the hocks.
  • Weak pasterns.
  • Heels that are too shallow.
  • A low foot angle.
  • Hocks that are in when viewed from the rear (cow-hocked).
  • A restricted, uncomfortable stride.


Rear Feet and Legs
- Hocks -

Rear Feet and Legs - Hocks Comparison


Rear Feet and Legs
- Foot Angle and Depth of Heel - 

Dairy - Foot Angle and depth of heel


Rear Feet and Legs
- Foot Angle and Depth of Heel - 

Excellent Foot Angle and Depth of Heel


Rear Feet and Legs
- Hind Legs (Rear View) -

Rear Feet and Legs - Hind View


Udder Conformation

A cow which excels in udder conformation will have:

  • An udder that is appropriate in size and capacity relative to the cow's age and number of lactations.
  • A moderately long for udder that blends well into the body wall.
  • A level udder floor, with the udder floor well above the hocks.
  • A full and wide rear udder.
  • A high and wide rear udder attachment.
  • Balanced quarters.
  • Evidence of a strong median suspensory ligament.
  • A lot of veining in the udder.
  • Teats which are moderate in size and length, squarely placed under the quarter and perpendicular to the ground.


Udder Conformation

A cow which does not excel in udder conformation may have:

  • A bulgy for udder.
  • A loose for udder attachment.
  • Too much slope to the udder floor, or reverse tilt to the udder floor.
  • An udder floor below the hocks.
  • A flat and narrow rear udder.
  • A low and narrow rear udder attachment.
  • Unbalanced quarters.
  • A weak median suspensory ligament.
  • Teats that are not the correct size or shape.
  • Front teats that are too wide.
  • Front teats that strut out.
  • Rear teats that are too close.

Udder Conformation
- Fore Udder -

Udder Conformation - Fore Udder



Udder Conformation
- Udder Depth -

Udder Conformation - Udder Depth



Udder Conformation
- Udder Tilt -

Udder Conformation - Udder Tilt


Udder Conformation
- Rear Udder Width -

Udder Conformation - Rear Udder Width


Udder Conformation
- Rear Udder Height -

Udder Conformation - Rear Udder Height


Udder Conformation
- Median Suspensory Ligament -

Udder Conformation - Median Suspensory Ligament


Udder Conformation
- Teat Placement -

Udder Conformation - Teat Placement


Frame

A cow which is correct in her frame will be:

  • Tall.
  • Long from her muzzle to her pins.
  • Straight in her lines.
  • Balanced and smoothly put together.
  • Long and wide in her rump with a moderate amount of slope from the hooks to the pins.


Frame

A cow which is not correct in her frame may be:

  • Low set.
  • Short from her muzzle to her pins.
  • Sway backed.
  • Rough at the shoulder.
  • Steep sloped from the hooks to the pins.
  • Reverse tilted in the rump with the pins being higher than the hooks.
  • Narrow in the hooks, thurls, and pins.


Frame
- Straightness of Design -

Frame - Straightness of Design


Frame
- Rump Width -

Frame - Rump Width


Frame
- Rump Slope -

Frame - Rump Slope


Judge Dairy Cattle

When judging a class of four dairy animals, your assignment is to:

  • First, evaluate what is correct and incorrect about the conformation of each animal.
  • Second, rank the class based on their overall conformation.

    • Most correct animal goes 1st
    • Second most correct animal goes 2nd
    • Third most correct animal goes 3rd
    • Least correct animal goes 4th

Final Tips for Judging Dairy Cattle

Cow picture

  • Remember the four important physical conformation categories.

  • Know what "correct" looks like.

  • Look at lots of dairy cattle.

  • Practice your judging skills.

 

 

You are ready to judge dairy cattle


TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE


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