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Livestock judge offers tips during Indiana county fair
By ANN ALLEN
Indiana Correspondent

COLUMBIA CITY, Ind. — Judge Mick Culp, Decatur, Ind. gave 4-H members showing their dairy beef calves plenty of advice during the Whitley County 4-H Fair.

Most importantly, he always addressed them as young adults.

“You aren’t kids,” he said. “You’ve matured past that. You’ve taken responsibility for your animals and I commend you for the job you’ve done.”

Then he launched into a series of mini pep talks that continued throughout the showmanship contest:

•We’re all in this together. If the calf ahead of you balks, help that young adult get it moving.

•Know your animal’s rate of gain.

•Don’t line up nose-to-tail. This is a big arena. If I had to have my nose under someone else’s tail, I wouldn’t be happy either.

•When you switch hands, always lead out with your right hand.

•Never wrap the lead rope around your hand. A calf can drag you if you do that.

•Make your calf to appear the best it can.

•Know how much grain - not hay - your animal eats per day. (A calf should consume 4 percent of its body weight per day, he said.)

•You can position your animal’s front feet with your own foot or with your show stick, but do the animal’s rear feet first.

•Don’t overuse your show stick. If you use it too much, it has a hypnotic effect and the animal relaxes too much. If you’re constantly using it to draw attention away from a defect, such as a swayed back, you’re actually drawing attention to it.

•Don’t carry brushes into the ring. You want your animals groomed by the time you enter the ring, not while you’re there.

Having said that, he placed chairs in the ring and had the young showmen walk the arena in a figure 8. For some classes, he held the animal while the showmen took turns introducing themselves and describing what 4-H means to them individually.

In the process, he selected champions in four classes - rookie, beginner, junior and senior.

This farm news was published in the August 9, 2006 issue of Farm World, serving Indiana, Ohio, Illinois, Kentucky, Michigan and Tennessee.

8/9/2006