Judging school hailed success

Eyes on the prize . . . Senior Judge Peter Sheriff aims to stay on top of his game. Photo: CRL
Eyes on the prize . . . Senior Judge Peter Sheriff aims to stay on top of his game. Photo: CRL
A Holstein Friesian judging school held recently in Canterbury has been hailed a success by those involved.

Seasoned judge Graham Stewart was called in as a last-minute replacement to assist in teaching beside Taranaki-based Wayne Taylor at Lindsay and Allison Trounce’s farm, near Washdyke.

‘‘It went really well. A good mix of senior and junior judges, the Trounces have set up a really nice area and we are lucky to be in the hands of such accommodating people,’’ he said.

‘‘We like good numbers. Eleven participants meant we were not too hard on the animals and could give each senior and junior judge direct and personal lessons.

‘‘We are a pretty close community, us breeders, so to have the day on the Trounce farm was just magic.’’

Senior judge Peter Sheriff took part in the school to hone his judging skills.

“Every two years you are supposed to go through and renew your ticket to make sure you are up to speed,’’ he said.

Mr Sheriff is based in North Canterbury and has been judging for 35 years, most recently in the Taranaki sector of the Holstein Friesian/Semex New Zealand 2020 On Farm Competition.

The annual competition is aimed at attracting entries from members and non-members alike to promote the Holstein Friesian breed, and is an opportunity for dairy farmers to participate in a competition without the cost and time constraints of travelling to A&P Show.

Individual cows are judged on type at their home property in natural conditions without being fitted or halter-led.

The top two animals in each class in each region move on to the national competition to compete for the champion and reserve champion titles for each class; they are then judged again by a national judge, with the results announced at the Holstein Friesian New Zealand Annual Conference

The 2019 competition attracted 645 animals from 89 herds in 8 wards throughout New Zealand.

This year promises to be even bigger as farmers discover the benefits of participating, when finals, originally set for early March, are reset post lockdown.

‘‘I think most of the young judges at this school spoke very well and their placings [are] mostly correct.

‘‘Sometimes it comes down to personal opinion but it is a matter of getting everybody to see mainly the same,’’ Mr Sheriff said.

‘‘There are senior judges, associate judges and people coming in to be an associate judge here today.

‘‘You have to go through three judging schools to become a senior judge and I think the ones coming through are just excellent.’’

With the Covid-19 lockdown came postponement or cancellation of A&P shows around the country, and Mr Sheriff is hopeful it makes showgoers come back strong next year.

‘‘Shows are not as prominent as they were years ago, and I think there may be less interest in it all together.

‘‘When they first started judging schools 35 years ago or more, there were probably more people participating ... [Fewer] country shows means [fewer] judges, we need new blood coming up to keep the ball rolling.’’

- George Clark

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