Friday, February 22, 2013

Classification - Feb. 2013

Saturday Feb. 16, 2013 the classifier from the American Guernsey Association came to evaluate our herd. Luckily the weather held almost all day, with only one major downpour. Although it was cold, we had a great day!

Here are some highlights and high scores from our herd:

1st Lactation Standouts:
Abiqua Acres Yogi Briar: VG-85 with a EX-90ms
Abiqua Acres Challenge Marguerite: VG-87 
Abiqua Acres Kain Sparkle: VG-82 with a VG-86ms

Also 6 (first and second lactation) Alstar daughters scored
for an average of : VG-83

2nd and 3rd Lactation:
Abiqua Acres Challenge Spirit: VG-88 with a EX-90ms
Abiqua Acres Banger Ramona: VG-88
Abiqua Acres Glacier Jolisa: VG-88
Abiqua Acres Banger Roxanne: VG-86 and EX-90fl
Abiqua Acres Neon Jellacy: VG-87
Abiqua Acres Mint Lonnie: VG-84 with a VG-87ms
Abiqua Acres Alstar Mistery: VG-87
Abiqua Acres Lorry Meagan: VG-87

Late Lactation Raises:
Abiqua Acres Faro Speranza raised to VG-86 at 10y and 7 lactations
Abiqua Acres Banger Jessica raised to VG-85 at 8y and 6 lactations

No new excellent final scores to report, but we were very happy with our scores for this classification! 

The crew keeps Alstar Mistery for the classifier to evaluate.

So what is classification and what does it mean?
This is the other half of information that purebred dairy breeders contribute to bull proofs. A bull proof gives us all the information on what kind of daughters that bull is siring. Classification is the body side of a proof, type, what do a sires daughters look like. Classification is an objective collection of information on the characteristics that are important to the success of a dairy cow.

The classifier takes a look at Alstar Jenette

Data is collected from each cow that is evaluated and complied by bull. We as breeders get this information in a type traits report that can be seen through the bull stud or the American Guernsey Association.  We use this information to help in the mating of our cows. The numbers you see that I mentioned as highlights above are final scores for a cow, they are out of 100; 100 being the perfect cow. The highest scored Guernseys ever were classified at 96. We have two cows in our herd that are scored EX-92.
So what do the letters before the numbers mean? Each group is broken up by tens, and the higher the score the better.
Cow scored in the 90's are considered Excellent (EX)
80 and above are Very Good (VG)
In the 70's are Good (G)
60's are Desirable (D)
And 50's are Undesirable (UD)
As a breed we hardly ever see scores in the 50's and 60's anymore.

To quickly summarize: you could consider classification a beauty score, the higher the score, the "prettier" the cow's type.

So what makes a "pretty" cow?
A "pretty" dairy cow has to be functional, she has to be able to make milk. A final score comes down to the classifiers overall opinion of the cow, but the broken down numbers are measurements that are a reflection of the ideal type of a dairy cow. How tall, strong and deep is she? Dairy form, does she look like a dairy cow or more like a beef cow? How are her legs? And the important part that makes the milk, her udder traits: udder attachment fore and rear, rear height, udder depth, udder cleft and teat placement and length.

Classification scores are a source of pride for a dairy farmer. It is a reflection of careful breedings and time invested. We all love to see those beautiful cows!
"Hey what are you looking at back there?!?"

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