BASIC PRINCIPLES OF JUDGING
It should always
be borne in mind, wherever or whenever you officiate as
a judge of any breed, that you are filling the ethical
role of an ambassador of the breed being judged and that
your judging is to a great extent an educational and
instructive task. Spectators and exhibitors expect to be
convinced by your placings and simultaneous discussions
that the desired animals are placed on merit in
accordance with the Standard of Excellence and breeding
It is essential that you as a judge should continually
endeavour to widen your knowledge of cattle in general,
and specifically the Simbra (or Simmentaler). You must
therefore possess the maximum knowledge for your task
and continually strive to brush up and modify your
knowledge since the standard and objectives of our
breeds are constantly modified according to the demands
of the industry.
In order to judge objectively and successfully, you must in the first place be
able to form a mental image of the desirable Simbra. To develop your power of
judgement further, you must study the photos of superior purebred animals and
particularly live animals and endeavour to memorise every detail. To be
ethical and successful in your judgement, you must at all times be impartial
and only the actual qualities of an animal should play a role in your
evaluation. Your final placings must always be based on concrete and
convincing facts and where applicable, aided by available means such as
Simbradex. Functional and economical properties must receive priority
throughout your appraisal.
You must be diplomatic and positive in your discussion
of placings. Do not over-emphasise faults and
imperfections, rather attribute particular importance to
the superior and excellent qualities and always discuss
it first. Be positive in your approach concerning
inferior qualities, e.g. rather than referring to "poor"
or "bad", make use of the terminology "it could be
Unfortunately not all prospective candidates are destined to be a proficient
judge, since it truly is a "gift", a natural talent and you can only become
skilled through wide experience. Theoretical knowledge and intensive scrutiny
of the Standard of Excellence is not an accepted guarantee for effective and
confusing the spectator and cattle leader, always endeavour to follow a
standard pattern of judging throughout. Train yourself to remember individual
animals to prevent the same animals from being changed around in subsequent
Always allow the
animals to move from left to right, preferably according to age. When the
animals enter the ring stand in a position where each animal may be viewed
without interference of the sun. First view the animals from a distance of
approximately 10 metres in order to gain a general impression and remember
that first impressions are often lasting.
the animals walking. It is of vital importance under our environmental
conditions. An animal which does not walk properly and comfortably is not
placed. Stand in a position where you can view each animal individually
walking towards you and then away from you. Depending on the position of the
sun - always attempt to stand in the furthest corner of the ring - on the way
back to the gate. Animals normally move more freely walking towards the exit
gate. Try to gain a general impression at this stage, where you have the
animals parading around the ring and note the following:
any disqualifying or discriminatory features in terms of the Standard of
Excellence and (at prominent shows) cows with inferior reproduction
already be eliminated at this stage.
variations which may be observed between the animals in the class. Make an
effort to remember this, since it is going to be useful in your motivations
for your placings.
basic variations between the animals and you will already have an indication
of how you are going to place the animals.
What should you pay attention to?
Which includes conformation. Observe length, width, depth, balance,
capacity, symmetry, quality and type - all the qualities which have a major
influence on first impressions, and to a great extent is permanent.
Since you are judging breeding animals, it is required that the animals reveal
distinct sex characteristics. One must be able to clearly differentiate
between a bull, a cow or a heifer. In the female you should pay attention to
features such as steer-like appearance, poorly developed genital organs and/or
any indication of infertility as well as poorly developed udder and teats. In
bulls one should pay attention to sex characteristics, under-developed and/or
defective genital organs. At large shows the reproduction records of cows are
put to the disposal of the judge by means of the ringcard. It stands to reason
that functional efficiency includes walking ability previously referred to.
The most important feature of a bull and cow is REPRODUCTION mentioned
earlier. Always bear the following in mind in your assessment: "Reproduction
is 5 times more important than growth rate and 10 times more important than
carcass qualities". Observe the other characteristics which are related to
production and do not loose sight of the fact that you are judging a
dual-purpose animal. In the cow one should observe the udder, teats, lacteal
veins and in the heifer, udder and teat development is of great importance.
Strong muscling is desired, particularly in the bull. Walking ability is very
important since it is closely related to production.
Next, group the
best animals together according to your initial judgement, allow them to walk
and compare them once again in a standing position.
Line up the
animals next to one another in order of preference. Endeavour not to let the
animals stand on a decline. Place the animals from left to right, as seen by
the spectator, for each individual class.
positioned the animals as such, walk past the animals facing you and observe
the following: Head, mouth, width, prominent shoulder, stance of forelegs,
pasterns and hooves.
past the rear of the animals and note the following: shape of rump and length,
udder and genital organs, thigh muscling, width, stance of hindlegs, hocks,
pasterns, hooves and width between pinbones. If necessary you may again pull
out one or more animals and allow them to walk in order to make sure about the
You are now
ready to finalise and motivate the placings. This, in brief, is the procedure
What do the skills of a judge embrace
ability of a judge depends on:
The ability to
observe and remember variations, draw comparisons between such variations
(evaluation) and base your placings on such variations without permitting anything or anybody to influence your decisions. To summarise:
You should look and perceive what you are looking at.
You should observe what you see.
You should understand what you observe.
You should know what you understand.
You may then base your decision on what you know.
Or even better: You must know what you are doing.
all this one should possess the required knowledge of a bovine, especially the
You must know
and understand the composition of an animal.
You must be
acquainted with, and use the correct anatomical terms.
You must know
what the different parts of the body of an animal conforming to the
standards, look like.
You must know
the faults of an animal as well as the appropriate technical terms
You must know
what is of major or minor importance, in other words evaluation is of
You might think
that this requires tremendous knowledge which has to be put into practise.
However, rest assured that the more you know, the easier it becomes to be a
mentioned five points are briefly analysed as follows:
Composition of the bovine
- The skeleton is of great importance and is already well-developed at the
time of birth. It is the foundation to which ligaments and muscle are
attached. We do not wish to elaborate on this, but as a judge, you must
endeavour to study and understand it. (Refer illustration of skeleton).
Purpose of the
animal with its specific conformation.
mobility to the animal.
- Purpose of muscles:
the conformation of the animal.
Forms part of
importance viz. the consumer value thereof.
- The depositing of fat is influenced by age, sex, feed and rate of maturity
(early or late). Purpose of fat:
medium of excessive energy, reserved for re-use at any time.
palatability of the meat.
Skin and hair
- The skin or hide and hair are of great importance in the total mechanism of
the animal for adaptation to its environment. The hide is not only the largest
single part of the body, however, is decidedly also one of the most important
since hide and hair are good indicators of an animal's adaptability. A thick
hide is generally more beneficial than a thin hide. Purpose of skin and hide:
protection to tissue.
protection against heat and cold.
medium to get rid of excessive heat.
colour affords one of the most distinctive characteristics to each cattle
2. Correct anatomical terms
It is essential
that you as prospective judge is familiar with and always use the correct
terms, since you can simply not refer to "hock" when you mean "knee" when
motivating your placings. Study the "Anatomical terms" below.
3. Correct anatomical parts and
body in general
described in the Standard of Excellence.
4. Faults and correct terminology
Refer to the
Discriminations and Disqualifications contained in the
Standard of Excellence.
Too fine or too coarse; off type/purity, lack of character, poorly-balanced,
no definate sex character; flat or narrow throughout; temperament; woolly or
frizzy coat; weak or excessive muscling.
Undershot or overshot lower jaw; skew or crooked nasal bone; narrow muzzle;
protruding eyes; fleshy cheeks; underdeveloped eye-brows - particularly in
Loose shoulders; straight shoulder, prominent shoulder; prominent brisket;
narrow chest floor; prominent chine; excessive hump development; short, flat
or too round neck.
Centre piece and
loin: Devils grip; (constricted); hollow back; arched back; insufficient spring of
rib; weak loin; insufficient or too much depth.
Flat, short, droopy or roofy rump; narrow pinbones; prominent tail-head; wry
tail setting; short, round muscling.
Too coarse; too fine; outward turning; knock-kneed; bow-legged; short cannon
Cow sickle; straight; spastic; puffy or narrow.
Small-, shallow-, cloven-, uneven or roll-hoof-, straight-, weak or tread
Udder and teats:
Pendulous-, underdeveloped, unbalanced or too quartered udder or udder pulled
up in front. Bulbuous, splayed, too short, too long and thin teats.
Underdeveloped or small (refer minimum circumference in Standard of
Excellence); hypoplastic, bisexual, twisted testes strings, excessive sheath
skin, prolapse of the sheath and in the female underdeveloped vagina.
Rangy and lack
Such animals normally have a poor productive and reproductive ability, are
poor feed convertors and normally have a low resistance.
Due to several reasons which were at issue at the last two judges' symposiums,
it was decided that in as far as size and ADA are concerned, the
middle-of-the-road policy should be adopted. However, sufficient variation to
adapt to the environment should be provided. Discriminate against too large or
Pony characteristics are detrimental to both milk and high weight gains.
What is important
important, and you must consequently acquire as much knowledge as possible.
you must be fully conversant with the Standard of Excellence and you must
apply your knowledge.
It is very
important that you know for what purpose the breed is bred, in other words,
the purpose of the breed, in order that you may ascertain whether an animal
serves its purpose. We therefore repeat: The Simbra is a dual purpose breed
which must be functionally efficient.
production related aspects, already dealt with, the following must be
In terms of the Constitution of the Simbra Cattle Breeders' Society one of the
objects is "to see to it that the calving records of cows are put at the
disposal of judges at as many shows as possible to be evaluated in their
judging". The ICP system has already since 1977 been in operation at major
shows and the "Simdex system" was introduced in 1987. Also refer to
"Functional efficiency". Reproduction and everything related thereto must
receive the highest priority.
faults in respect of legs and hooves:
For economical production, proper mobility in an animal is imperative in South
Africa, the stance and stride of an animal must therefore be considered as
Discriminate against (i) extremities in size - keep to the middle-of-the-road;
(ii) animals which lack depth or are rangy, (iii) animals with insufficient
spring of rib. Shoulder and/or height of hip, which are not affected by
condition, indicate the size of an animal.
When judging young animals, special attention must be paid to weight for age.
However, discriminate against extremities in ADA. In junior classes animals should preferably walk according to age.
Pay attention to weak or excessive muscling. The muscling on the forearm is a
good indication of muscling throughout.
Pay attention to proper length of body and length of rump, i.e. measurement
from hip to pinbone.
Good width and capacity throughout. Good width between forelegs, thurls and
good width of body.
Discriminate against overfat animals, since we are in the process of judging
breeding animals and not slaughter animals.
This feature cannot be measured. However, the animal should be easy to handle
yet alert and high-spirited.
conformation at different ages:
It is common knowledge that an eight-month old calf does not have the same
conformation as a three-year old animal.
In order to become a judge one must study since you must possess knowledge.
learn from books, learn from fellow breeders and judges, learn at shows and
above all, attend Simbra Judges' Courses. Then, on the basis of your
knowledge, learn to observe the variations in animals. To evaluate
these variations, then make your final selections in order of your
Correct Interpretation of
important animal science terms
The appearance of an animal in terms of how well (or poorly) it is doing and
producing in the environment where it is kept. (A smooth, moulted and fertile
animal in a good feeding condition will for instance signify a good
The reaction of an animal to environmental stress such as heat, drought, long
distance walking, high parasite infestation and high humidity (e.g. a hardy
animal against drought). "Constitution" is a good indication of hardiness.
The ability of an animal to adjust and thrive in a new environment or
production system. Such an adaptation is measured by condition, growth and
reproduction. We prefer to refer to "adaptability" to a production system
(feedlot) and "hardiness" against adverse conditions.
Is synonymous for "structure", i.e. to what extent legs, balance, muscling,
masculinity, udder etc. conform to the norms (standard). An animal with for
instance straight hocks has a poor conformation.
The biological efficiency of an animal to comply with a specific function.
it was merely ascertained whether the structure or conformation of an animal
was such that it could perform its function and efficiency was not measured.
Good walking ability, genital organs and purity would for instance contribute
to the efficiency of the animal, while shape of horns, length of tail, certain
colour markings etc. (fancy points) were not at all associated with the
efficiency or productivity of an animal.
viewpoint with regard to functional efficiency is aimed at the evaluation
of an animal for (i) functionally important conformation qualities plus (ii)
the measuring of production records such a Simbradex, retention of progeny and
milk production (weaning index of calves) in the female, and qualities such as
semen, service proficiency and growth rate in the bull.
Ten commandments for the judge
are important to the consumer, in other words the commercial beef producer,
must also receive the highest priority in the judging ring - the consumer is
Always bear in
mind that "nature does not tolerate extremes".
appraisal is of vital importance - pay special attention to preference
characteristics as determined by council from time to time.
Bear in mind
that fat animals belong to the slaughter stock showring and not in the ring
of breeding animals.
sight of the fact that you are judging a dual-purpose breed.
There are no
friends in the showring.
Do not permit
animals with "reputable names" to influence your decision.
- previous placings of judges with "reputable names" should not necessarily
Do not concern
yourself about the spectators' opinion of your placings - it is impossible
to please everybody.
placings, place as many animals as possible and do not discredit animals in
Society holds the view that stud breeders should be encouraged to compete at
shows provided that functional efficiency and reproduction (Simdex) plays a
major role in the final placing". (CPM)