Learning linear gets a second wind

Hoard's Dairyman: 

Learning linear gets a second wind

Date: 
Thu, 01/09/2014

Five days and a dozen people helped revamp our educational offerings.

by Amanda Smith, Hoard’s Dairyman Associate Editor

The first five issues of the year of Hoard’s Dairyman are best known for their covers, launching yet another round of the annual cow judging contest. For the 84th contest, we are supplementing this longstanding tradition with revamped educational material. Take another look at the Young Dairymen page in your January 10, 2014, issue (page 28).

A once popular item in our editorial department, Focus on Linear Scoring, sold out a few years back. Corey Geiger, with help from then interns Shelly Lammers and Kim Koepke, hatched the idea for that guide 15 years ago. With a group of 82 pictures taken by the late Rick Miller, a series of five articles was run in 1998. These articles were the foundation for the guide that was later printed highlighting each breakdown on the PDCA scorecard.

This past September, members of our editorial team along with Ted Halbach, at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, chose to breathe new life into Hoard’s Dairyman’s linear scoring guide.

Our team at Hoard’s Dairyman is indebted to a host of editorial staff and industry specialists who assisted with preparing and picturing the cows, which took place over five days. Ran-Rose Dairy provided the majority of the cattle, with others coming from the UW Research herd, Mark and Nicky Rueth, and Mitch Krahn. Photos were taken by Beth Herges, and Holstein classifier Jerome Meyer reviewed the linear scores.

The majority of the cows were pictured over two days at Ran-Rose Dairy. That crew is pictured below:

linear scoring crew

Front row (L to R): Josh Krahn, herdsman at Ran-Rose Dairy; Patti Hurtgen, Hoard’s Dairyman; Corey Geiger, Hoard’s Dairyman; Luke Lensmire, dairy cattle fitter; and Ben Kinnard, project assistant. Back row (L to R): Beth Herges, photographer; Amanda Smith, Hoard’s Dairyman; Ted Halbach, UW-Madison; and Jonas Melbaum, dairy cattle fitter. Fitter Ryan Krohlow also assisted with the project.

Through a series of five articles, we will dive into each of the four breakdowns on the current PDCA scorecard and highlight the associated linear traits. These breakdowns include frame, rear feet and legs, dairy strength and udder. Additionally, the first article in the group includes a body-part labeled image of the ideal cow for youth to refer back to as the articles progress.

As the series concludes, the articles will be compiled into a book for purchase. Stay tuned for pricing and ordering information. Best of luck to all who compete in our judging contest this year and all the youth who will hit the judging circuit when spring arrives!

Amanda blog footer
The author is an associate editor and an animal science graduate of Cornell University. Smith covers feeding, milk quality and heads up the World Dairy Expo Supplement. She grew up on a Medina, N.Y., dairy, and interned at a 1,700-cow western New York dairy, a large New York calf and heifer farm, and studied in New Zealand for one semester.

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