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Cows milk time in spotlight

July 27, 2005|by ADAM BEHSUDI

adamb@herald-mail.com

Stylish, silky, smooth, clean and angular.

These words aren't describing the latest in men's couture or an architectural acheivement. They're all about dairy cows, where udders and pointed hips are in style.

"Clearly, her best look is from where I'm standing," said judge Terry Rawn, as he critically assessed a cow's hindquarters Tuesday at the Washington County Ag Expo.

Seven breeds of dairy cow were judged in classes ranging from calves to mature cows. The large cows ambled into the arena with relative calmness. Some of the younger heifers required a little pushing and prodding.

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Rawn, who helps with the operation of his wife's family's 1,700-acre dairy farm in Berryville, Va., said the Ag Expo entries were of high quality with great individuals from each breed.

He said a good dairy cow will give a lot of milk for a long time. At livestock shows, Rawn looks for cows that have udders high enough off the ground for cleanliness, good ability to walk on grass and the concrete floors of milking barns, symmetry and structure, among many other things.

"We want them to have lots of capacity for their stomach," Rawn said.

The more a cow can eat, the more milk it can produce, he said.

The supreme champion, a 3-year-old Holstein exhibited by Scott DeBaugh, had all the qualities Rawn was seeking. The supreme champion is selected from the grand champions of each breed.

DeBaugh, 11, said he has been showing and raising animals from his family's Boonsboro farm since he was 4 years old.

"I didn't really think I would win," said DeBaugh, who had four other cows in the dairy cattle show. However, he said he felt confident going into the show.

DeBaugh also showed two pigs and a dairy steer at the Ag Expo.

Hannah Smith, 17, had 10 cows and heifers in the dairy cattle show and won three awards. Although she didn't win grand champion in any of the breeds she showed, she said she was happy with her performance.

Fully aware of the inevitable fate of beef cattle, she said she prefers raising dairy cattle because she doesn't have to sell them.

"I could never sell them," she said. "I get too attached."

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