4-H Dairy Cattle at the Stearns County Fair

4-H Dairy Cattle at the Stearns County Fair

4-H Cattle show


Dariy cow at show

Showing a cow is easier that it sounds.

Showable Cows...Edit


When George Grant transported four Angus bulls from Scotland to the middle of the Kansas Prairie in 1873, they were part of the Scotsman's dream to found a colony of wealthy, stock-raising Britishers. Grant died five years later, and many of the settlers at his Victoria, Kans., colony later returned to their homeland. However, these four Angus bulls, probably from the herd of George Brown of Westertown, Fochabers, Scotland, made a lasting impression on the U.S. cattle industry.  When two of the George Grant bulls were exhibited in the fall of 1873 at the Kansas City, Mo., Livestock Exposition, some considered them freaks because of their polled (naturally hornless) heads and solid black color. Grant, a forward thinker, crossed the bulls with native Texas Longhorn cows, producing a large number of hornless black calves that survived well on the winter range. The Angus crosses wintered better and weighed more the next spring, the first demonstration of the breed's value in their new homeland.  

Early Importers and Breeders

The first great herds of Angus beef cattle in America were built up by purchasing stock directly from Scotland. Twelve hundred cattle were imported, mostly to the Midwest, in a period of explosive growth between 1878 and 1883. Over the next quarter of a century these early owners helped start other herds by breeding, showing and selling their stock.

The American Angus Association

The American Aberdeen-Angus Breeders' Association (name shortened in 1950s to American Angus Association) was founded in Chicago, Ill., on November 21, 1883, with 60 members. The growth of the association has paralleled the success of the Angus breed in America. In the first century of operation, more than 10 million head were recorded. The Association records more cattle each year than any other beef breed association, making it the largest beef breed registry association in the world.



Braunvieh is a German word meaning "brown cattle." There were at least 12 types of brown cattle found in the mountains of Switzerland during the 1600s. These animals showed a wide variation in type and size, depending on where they were raised, and they form the basis for the modern Braunvieh.

Focused selection began in the canton of Schwyz. By the 19th century, breeders began to export these animals to surrounding regions. A breeders' society was formed in Switzerland in 1897 and is called Schweizerischer Braunviehzuchtverband. In 1974, Braunvieh accounted for 47 percent of the cattle found in Switzerland, second only to Simmental.

These cattle have been exported throughout the world, including Western Europe, former eastern block countries and Russia. In many cases the breed was used to improve the quality of the local cattle. In Europe, Braunvieh are still primarily used for milk production. In comparison to the European Holstein-Friesian, they are approximately equal in average daily gain, percent milk fat, percent milk protein, calving ease and calf mortality. Braunvieh are lower in milk yield, muscularity, age of sexual maturity and milk ability than Holstein-Friesian cattle.   



One of the oldest of the several breeds of French cattle, Charolais is considered of Jurassic origin and was developed in the district around Charolles in central France. The breed became established there and achieved considerable regard as a producer of highly-rated meat in the markets at Lyon and Villefranche in the 16th and 17th centuries.  One of the early influential herds in the region was started in 1840 by the Count Charles de Bouile. His selective breeding led him to set up a herd book in 1864 for the breed at his stable at Villars, near the village of Magny-Cours. Breeders in the Charolles vicinity established a herd book in 1882. The two societies merged in 1919, with the older organization taking the records of the later group into their headquarters at Nevers, the capital of the Nievre province.  Soon after World War I, a young Mexican industrialist of French name and ancestry, Jean Pugibet, decided to bring some of the French cattle to his ranch in Mexico. He had seen Charolais cattle during World War I while serving as a French army volunteer and was impressed by their appearance and productivity. He arranged for a shipment of two bulls and 10 heifers to Mexico in 1930. Two later shipments in 1931 and 1937 increased the total number to 37 - eight bulls and 29 females.  The first Charolais to come into the United States from Mexico are believed to be two bulls, Neptune and Ortolan, which were purchased from Pugibet by the King Ranch in Texas and imported in June 1936. From that beginning, the breed grew rapidly. Cattlemen admired both Charolais bulls and females for their muscling, correctness and size.



Chianina (pronounced Kee-a-nee-na) is one of the oldest breeds of cattle in the world. Originating in Central Italy, Chianina were initially introduced into the United States in 1971, when the first Chianina semen was imported. The first Chianina born in the U.S. was a black half-blood Chianina X Angus/Holstein bull calf born on January 31, 1972. Beginning in 1975, Italian Fullblood Chianina were exported from Canada into this country.



Historians' writings regarding the origin of the Galloway differ somewhat, but upon three points they generally agree. The breed is recognized to be a very ancient one with obscure origins shrouded in antiquity. Its name is derived from the word Gallovid or Gaul. The Gauls were the native inhabitants of the regality known as the Province of Galloway. This province once comprised six shires (counties) in the southernmost extremity of Scotland's Lowlands. The cattle of the region were said to be dark, smooth-polled and wavy-haired with


Galloway bull

undercoats like beavers' fur.    

Galloway cattle received recognition as a preferred breed as early as 1570, but Scottish Galloway breeders didn't begin their cattle genealogy until 1862.  The first Galloway came to Canada in 1853, and registration of these cattle began in 1872. Exactly 10 years later, during the Fat Stock Show in Chicago, Galloway breeders formed the first Galloway registry in the United States.   

The naturally polled, long-bodied, curly-haired cattle come in three primary colors - black, red and dun - and in three color patterns - solid, white park and belted - and are well adapted to harsh northern climates.



The Gelbvieh (pronounced Gelp-fee) breed is one of the oldest German cattle breeds, first found mainly in three Franconian districts of Bavaria. Starting in 1850, systematic breeding work began in stud herds. By purebreeding, the red-yellow Franconian cattle were developed from several local strains, including Celtic-German Landrace and Heil-Brown Landrace cattle.  This solid-colored breed of red-yellow cattle enjoyed great popularity as draft and slaughter cattle. The societies aimed at improvement through standardizing the indigenous breed by selecting the best bulls, purebreeding for a single color and improvement of performance in work fitness and milk production.  In 1897, the Breed Society for Yellow Franconian Cattle for Middle and Upper Franconia in Nurnberg was founded. It was followed by the Breed Society for Gelbvieh in Lower Franconia, based in Wurzburg and founded in 1899.  Since World War II, Germany has used a stringent selection program to repopulate its cattle herds. Only three percent of the registered cows are used to produce potential bulls. These cows are selected on structural soundness and conformation. Bulls from these select cows are performance-tested, and the top half are progeny-tested. The progeny evaluation includes gestation length, birth weight, calving ease, growth rate, slaughter weight, carcass quality conformation, udder soundness and fertility and milk production in daughters. Semen is released only from bulls that prove their superiority in progeny testing.  In the 1960s, Red Danish cattle were introduced to the herd book to improve milk prduction. Leness Hall, then director of International Marketing for Carnation Genetics, first saw Gelbvieh cattle in 1969. He worked toward importing Gelbvieh semen to the U.S., and finally was able to bring 43,000 units here in 1971. In that same year, the American Gelbvieh Association was formed.  Today, there are more than 70,000 active, registered Gelbvieh cows in the United States and approximately 2,000 active members of the American Gelbvieh Association (AGA). AGA is the largest Gelbvieh association in the world and ranks eighth in number of registered animals among beef breed associations in the United States. Most registered U.S. Gelbvieh are classified as purebreds and were bred up by mating fullbloods and purebred Gelbvieh bulls to foundation cows.

Today, there are no color restrictions for registration. However, the tradition of production testing has continued as AGA is one of only a few beef breed associations requiring performance data for registration. AGA has one of the most comprehensive performance programs in the world. Gelbvieh calves are widely recognized for excellence in growth, muscling and marketability, while Gelbvieh females are known for milking ability, fertility and quiet temperament.



The Hereford breed was established near Hereford, county of Herefordshire, England, nearly 300 years ago as a product of necessity. Thrifty, enterprising British farmers were seeing the need to produce beef for the expanding food market created by Britain's industrial revolution.  To successfully meet this growing demand, these early-day cattlemen needed cattle which could efficiently convert native grasses to beef, and do it at a profit. No breed at that time could fill that need, so the farmers of Herefordshire developed and founded the breed that logically became known as Herefords.  Benjamin Tomkins is credited with being a primary founder of the Hereford breed. He began in 1742 with a bull calf from the cow Silver and two cows, Pidgeon and Mottle, inherited from his father's estate. This was 18 years before Robert Bakewell began developing his theories of animal breeding. Tomkins' goals were economy in feeding, natural ability to grow and gain on grass and grain, rustling ability, hardiness, early maturity and high rates of reproduction, traits that are still of primary importance today.  Other pioneering breeders followed Tomkins' lead and established the world-wide reputation for these Herefordshire cattle, thus causing their exportation from England to wherever grass grows and beef production is possible. 

A link for more cow breeds...

[showable cow breeds...]

How to show a cow...Edit

Clothes - Dairy - Show whites and Beef - White top and black pants. If you are going to show in the Open show in beef, wear dark blue jeans and a nice top that matches the blue pants you are wearing. Open show for dairy, you still have to show in whites!!


When you are about to go into the ring...brush her - comb her hair forward and brush her shoulders with a rice-root brush with a downward angle to make her shoulders look smooth. Once brushed, use a leather halter (if she/he is quiet enough) and make sure she looks good and just add some final bloom and you are ready to show your calf.

Once you are walking out to the ring, look for the judge and keep your eye on the judge at all times. Have your heifer's head a little higher than her natural position. Also have your showstick about 40 cm. from the ground. When your calf is stubborn, pull on the lead shank. Don't hit her but you can use your showstick in front of her face to slow her down a little.

When he stops you, stop your calf about 2 feet from the one ahead of the other calf. Set your calf up quickly. The leg closest to you ahead about a foot. Don't make her all streched as she will look really unbalanced and really funny looking and don't scrunch her as she looks funny too. Just make her look natural a little. Put the front feet together but not too close, place them side by side and as together as her shoulder blades are. Place her topline down a little to make her topline straight and desireable, use it with your showstick. When the judge comes to see you, be really nice and happy. When he/she said, "hi how are you", you should say, "very good thanks" just be really nice. When the judge comes around on your right side, move your calf's farthest leg ahead than the one closest to you. Also move back so the judge can see the full view of the calf. 

Once you are placed, make sure your calf is square and have the leg closest to the judge back just a little bit.

DAIRY - Clip your calf's topline that day to make it look straight. 

Put your pointy finger around the ring of the show leather halter.

Once you are about to go into the showring, again look for the judge quickly, walk backwards slowly and elegently. Have your heifer's head up a little. Have your thumb and your pointing finger and your middle finger around a piece of skin on her jawling bone where the neck attaches to the head. Walk and keep an eye on her and judge all the time you are in there. When you stop there, stop your calf where your front feet together and the back legs are perfect (remember the leg closest to you comes ahead). Put down her topline with your middle finger and your thumb until she looks straight. Hold her head up high but not too high.

Do the same as the beef but just walk slowly and you don't use a showstick so use your feet to place the front feet.