Livestock judging, believe it or not, is actually an art and a science. It’s the result of a lot of study and lots of practice. Many define it as being an exploration of the relationship that exists between the form of an animal and its function.
Today’s livestock judging is actually two separate things – Academic Activity, and Intercollegiate Competition. So it is the careful analysis of animals. Their measurements and functions are matched against a commonly accepted standard that is established as being ‘ideal’.
A Livestock Judge Must Have a Keen Eye
As in any sport, the judges engaged in the livestock judging have to meet certain criteria. They must have a solid knowledge of the animals involved and the geometrical location in which these animals live. They need to know what part of the animal’s meat are the best for eating as well as what constitutes good breeding stock.
Good livestock judges must possess a keen eye and know what to look for. They must have the ability to take their observations and visualize these animals against the acceptable ideal standard. This involves weight, contour, coloration, and many other important details depending on what types of animals are being judged and why.
Livestock Judging Techniques
Livestock judging is comprised of 4 basic criteria. They are as follows –
(1). Animal Knowledge
A livestock judge must know about the parts of the animal and where those parts are located on the animal. They must have the ability to mentally visualize the animal against a mental image of the ideal standard. They should have knowledge of all breeds of the animal, all different species, and specific information about the sex of the animal.
Livestock judges need a keen eye for observation. They must be able to spot even the slightest details. Everything must be matched against the ideal standard and they need to be accurate in their assessments.
(3). Make Good Comparisons Between Competing Animals
A good judge will have the ability to not only match animals against the ideal standard but to make accurate comparisons among the constants themselves. They should be able to accurately assess one against the other regardless of how many are entered.
(4). The Final Decision
The most difficult part will be for the judge to select the best overall contestant. By this time the judge will have put each animal against the ideal standard and against the others. They must eliminate animals until they reach their final decision which will leave the last one standing which is the winner.
Good judges also possess good communication skills. They must talk the ‘lingo’ of the animal owners in order to reason with them and defend their selections. They must be diplomatic without being easily persuaded. They should stand firm once a decision is made and stand by it. Being a livestock judge can be a very rewarding but also very challenging experience. There is much more to it than most people would think.
Having to make a final choice can be the most difficult decision of all. Many times the top two contestants are so close it’s really hard to find a reason to choose one over the other. Again, being a livestock judge isn’t easy but with the right skills the judge is doing the contestants and owners a great service by using their gifts and abilities to decide which animal is #1.
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