Dairy Judging Team
The UW-Platteville Dairy Judging Team is open to anyone that has an interest in dairy cattle. Students must be at least a sophomore to compete in national competitions, however freshmen can judge from the sidelines. Currently the dairy team competes in four national contests each year. They include the Accelerated Genetics contest that is held in conjunction with the Vernon County Fair in Viroqua, Wis. in early September; the National Dairy Judging contest held in conjunction with World Dairy Expo in Madison, Wis. during the first week in October; the North American International Livestock Exposition that is held the first weekend in November in Louisville, Kent.; and the Southwestern Exposition and Stock Show held during the last week in January in Fort Worth, Texas.
The contests consist of judging a minimum of 10 classes of dairy cattle. Normally each breed of dairy cattle is represented in the contest. A typical contest would have a cow class and heifer class from each breed. Each class is composed of four animals of the same age. Contestants rank the cows on the four categories from the unified score card (udder, rear feet and legs, dairy strength, and frame). Contestants have 15 minutes per class to place it. Of the ten classes in the contest, five classes are selected for the contestants to take notes in order to develop an oral set of reasons. After all the classes are placed which usually takes all morning, contestants have to prepare oral reasons from the notes they had written down earlier in the contest. Each set of reasons is expected to be at least two minutes long. The contestants defend their placing to one of the official breed judges of the contest. This aspect of the contest usually takes the entire afternoon to complete. An awards banquet and ceremony is usually scheduled in the early evening of the contest. Winning individuals and teams are announced and awards distributed.
The UW-Platteville dairy judging team has been very competitive and successful against other colleges and universities in the US. The team won the National Dairy Judging Title in 1993, won the dairy contest in Louisville twice in 1991 and 1996, won the southwestern Expo at Fort Worth, Texas in 2005 and has placed consistently at or near the top ten in all contests that it enters.
Despite our success, no experience is necessary to become a member of the dairy judging team. A willingness to learn, hard work and practice are the only pre-requisites.