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Publication #4HASJ20.5

4-H Livestock Judging: Activity 5, Express Yourself1

Chad Carr, Justin Crosswhite, and Amanda Johnson2

Credits and Acknowledgements

4-H LIVESTOCK JUDGING was developed through a team effort with the Florida 4-H Youth Development Program, Department of Family, Youth and Community Sciences, and the Department of Animal Science, The Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida.

This edition of the Livestock Judging curriculum package was created by Chad Carr, Assistant Professor, Justin Crosswhite, Graduate Assistant; and Amanda Johnson, Undergraduate Assistant, Department of Animal Sciences. Authors of previous editions include: Julie Sexton and Karen Strickland, former Project Assistants; Allen Stateler, former Graduate Assistant; Saundra TenBroeck, Associate Professor and Youth Livestock Extension Specialist, Department of Animal Sciences; Tim Marshall, Associate Professor, Department of Animal Sciences; and Deborah J. Glauer, Extension Youth Development Specialist and Animal Science Design Team Leader, Department of Family, Youth and Community Sciences.

Technical review and assistance for this edition was provided by members of the 4-H Life Skills Animal Science Action Team—Amanda Thein, Nassau County 4-H Agent, Chris DeCubelis, Gilchrist County 4-H Agent, and Joy C. Jordan, Associate Professor, 4-H Youth Development Curriculum Specialist, Department of Family, Youth and Community Sciences, University of Florida, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences.

Activity 5

Activity 5. 

OBJECTIVES:

 

For youth to:

Discover terminology used to describe and compare livestock.

 

Add to vocabulary by learning livestock terms.

LIFE SKILLS:

Communication Skills

 

Self-confidence

MATERIALS:

Copies of BASIC LIVESTOCK TERMS and SPECIES SPECIFIC TERMS for each youth.

 

Easel and flip chart or chalkboard

 

Markers or chalk

TIME:

1½ Hours

SETTING:

A comfortable room with tables and chairs.

ADVANCE PREPARATION:

Ask a youth with livestock judging experience to prepare a set of oral reasons to give in front of the group.

Express Yourself

Background Basics

The youth have learned and added many new livestock words to their vocabulary in the first three activities. In this activity, they will expand that basic terminology and learn more specific terms that are used in the livestock industry. Below is a list of words or phrases that are used to describe different animals or features. Many of these terms are not species specific and mean the same thing for almost all animals.

  • Condition, Finish or Leanness - all are used to denote fatness. The term finish is used to describe fat on market cattle and lambs, condition is used with breeding stock, and leanness is used with market hogs.

  • Growth - the characteristics of having adequate size and weight at a certain age.

  • Balance - a proper proportion and blending of parts of the animal, essentially “how the parts fit together.” Includes structural correctness, symmetry and quality. Balance is primarily evaluated from a side view.

  • Ruggedness, Stoutness - traits associated with potential durability and serve as a loose indicator of growth. These include foot size, circumference of the cannon bone (from the knee to the ankle), and structural width.

  • Quality - a general term that infers smoothness and refinement. Refinement of hair coat, freedom of wrinkles in hogs and lambs, freedom of roughness, patchiness in cattle indicates quality.

  • Scale or Frame - the size of the animal as determined by skeletal structure, independent of weight. The height, length, and width as they predict an animal’s mature size.

  • Broodiness - female breeding stock term that means she has a favorable combination of characteristics to be a good mother. Depth, capacity, stoutness, prominence of teats and/or mammary system, and correctness of vulva.

  • Breed Character - characteristics that separate breeding stock of one breed from other breeds, primarily by differences of the head: shape, length, dish of face, width of muzzle, shape of poll and ears, color markings and wool covering in sheep.

  • Trimness - freedom from external fat.

  • Muscling - having greater meat yield per carcass weight.

  • Maturity - an animal’s degree of physiological development relating to sexual puberty, mature size, and body composition.

  • Structural Soundness - the desirability or correctness of the skeletal structure, with major emphasis on straightness of top and proper feet and leg structure.

  • Sexual Characteristics - characteristics that distinguish the female from the male. Femininity - Indicated by refinement of the head, neck and shoulders. Masculinity-- Indicated by boldness or massiveness of head and crest, thickness of the neck and development of the forequarter.

Sexual character varies widely in each breed within a species; however, there are some common types and ideals found within most species. These can be broken up into necessary and desirable sexual characteristics. Necessary sexual traits are those necessary for reproduction in that individual. Some of these traits might include the development and spacing of the appropriate number of teats, lack of difficulty during parturition (giving birth), and the proper formation of testicles and vulvas. Desirable sexual traits are genetic traits that producers wish to pass along to the individual's offspring. The traits that a producer finds valuable vary widely with personal preference, use and breed demands. Some desirable traits might include femininity or masculinity of the head and neck, maximum number of offspring per year, or lack of pendulous (hanging) sheaths.

Introduction

To fully understand and communicate with others in the livestock industry, it is essential that everyone use common terminology. The person to whom you are communicating should be able to understand exactly what you want them to. Today you will develop a basic vocabulary of livestock terms, learn the meanings of basic livestock terms and learn synonyms to be used in oral reasons. So let's get started.

DO

Play “phrase it” in livestock terminology

  • Have a youth with livestock judging experience to give a sample set of oral reasons. This will familiarize youth with some terms used to describe and compare livestock animals.

  • Play the phrase game. Divide the group into two teams.

  • Write the general trait "frame" on the board or flip chart. Have the teams alternate youth (first one answers, then another) and come up with a different phrase or way of describing an advantage in this trait. Examples: long bodied, large framed, standing on length of leg. Write the answers on the board or flip chart.

  • The leader or an experienced youth should evaluate and score the phrases. For each good answer, the team gets one point. For each outstanding answer, the team gets two points. For each poor or invalid answer, the team loses a point.

  • The number of rounds played depends on the number of youth in the group. Make sure everyone gets at least two turns.

  • Repeat game with the terms: muscle, structure, volume, and carcass.

  • Give youth copies of BASIC LIVESTOCK TERMS handout and discuss the information with youth.

Reflect

  • Why is there a variety of ways to say or express the same thing?

To provide ways to express a certain trait in almost any situation; to give some variety to a set of reasons.

  • What is the difference between an animal’s frame or scale and its growth?

Frame or scale describes an animal's length, height, and width and serves as a prediction of growth. Growth is used to describe size and weight at a certain age, but also to predict future growth potential of his/her progeny based on performance records.

  • List a creative and specific term you used when describing traits.

  • Was it challenging to describe a single trait in many different ways?

  • Why might it be necessary or important to know this?

It is important to learn the terms used to describe and compare livestock to aid in evaluating the animals and to give effective oral reasons.

  • List some examples of new words or phrases you learned in this activity.

Apply

  • Think of different ways to describe your home, pet, or family member. Try to use very specific words and avoid general statements.

  • Show a picture of an animal or view a live animal and have the youth describe the animal on its own merit, using correct and descriptive terminology.

Breeding Cattle Terminology

Growth/Maturity

Positives

Higher performing

Faster growing

More weight per day of age

Stouter featured

More powerfully constructed

Heavier boned

More moderate in frame and ultimate mature size

Negatives

Slow growing

Frail featured

Fine boned

Excessively large framed

Excessively small framed

Heavier boned

PHRASES:

- a more powerfully made, bigger footed bull with more weight per day of age

-a stouter featured, heavier boned, higher performing bull

Structural Correctness

Positives

More correctly structured

Longer strided

Truer moving

Sounder moving

Bigger footed

More structurally correct

More functionally correct

Negatives

Short strided

Ill structured as evidenced by ….

Straight shouldered/kneed/pasterned/hocked

Small footed

Bigger footed

More structurally correct

More functionally correct

PHRASES:

- a more structurally correct heifer that was truer and freer moving

-a more correctly structured heifer moving off the more correct hind leg set

-a freer moving heifer that took a longer, more comfortable stride

-a bigger footed, more structurally correct bull which should provide more seasons of service

Muscling

Positives

Heavier muscled

Thicker made

More muscle shape

Negatives

Light muscled

Flat/narrow made

Tapers out of hip

PHRASES:

- a thicker made, heavier muscled bull

Balance

Positives

Better/nicer balanced/patterned

Better/nicer/more attractive profiling

Flatter shouldered

Cleaner/more attractive fronted

Longer fronted/bodied/hipped

More extended

Stronger topped

Leveler hipped

More eye appealing

Negatives

Poor balanced

Coarse shouldered

Short/necked/fronted/bodied/hipped

Broken/weak topped

PHRASES:

-a better patterned, longer fronted heifer that is stronger topped, and leveler hipped

-a better balanced, more correctly structured bull that is squarer hipped

-a nicer profiling heifer that is stronger in her topline and becomes progressively deeper from forerib to flank

Sexual Characteristics

Positives - Heifers

More feminine featured

More maternal appearing

Broodier

Larger and more correct vulva size

Longer bred as shown by her udder development

Shorter, more refined teats

Negatives

Coarse featured

Small, misshapened vulva

Shorter bred

Long, coarse teats

Positives - Bulls

Larger testicled

More ruggedly made

More masculine

Cleaner/less pendulous sheath

Negatives

Small testicled

Frail

Coarse/pendulous sheath

PHRASES:

-a more feminine featured, broodier heifer, that is heavier bred as shown by her udder development

-a more ruggedly made, larger testicled bull

Volume

Positives

Higher volumed

Better/bigger bodied

Bolder sprung/ribbed

More capacious

Should be easier keeping

Deeper bodied/flanked

Wider tracking

Negatives

Low volumed

Tight ribbed/flanked

Shallow bodied

Flat ribbed

PHRASES:

-a better bodied, bolder sprung heifer, that should prove to be the easier keeping brood cow

-a bolder ribbed, higher volumed bull

Market Cattle Terminology

Balance

See Breeding Cattle Section

Muscle

Positives

Heavier muscled

More meat-animal shape

More expressively muscled

More shape/dimension over the rib and loin or top

Squarer hipped

More bulging/bulging/thicker quarter

Negatives

Light muscled

Flat/narrow made

Tapers out of hip

Flattens through quarter

Narrow topped

PHRASES:

-he had more shape over this rib and loin and more mass through his hip and quarter

-more muscle shape from end to end

Correctness of Finish/Maturity

Positives

More correctly/optimally finished

More market ready

Mellower handling

Trimmer

More compositionally correct

Negatives

Thin finished

Over finished

Bare handling

PHRASES:

- a more correctly finished steer that appears more market ready through his cod, flank, and brisket

- a trimmer patterned, more compositionally correct steer

-a more optimally finished steer which handled mellower down his top and over his lower rib

Production Traits

Positives

Stouter made/featured/boned

More powerful

More productive/practical appearing

Easier feeding

More feeding capacity

Sounder

Negatives

Frail

Low volumed

Less feeding capacity

Short strided

Ill structured

Sounder

PHRASES:

- a more productive appearing, bolder ribbed steer with more feeding capacity

- a sounder footed, bigger bodied, easier feeding steer

Carcass Terms

Positives

Whole carcass should rib with a larger eye

Should rail/generate a higher cutability carcass

A carcass with greater red-meat yield

A higher dressing percentage

More apt to make/reach the Choice grade

Better potential yield and quality grade combination

Packer preferred

Negatives

Rib with a small eye

Overfinished, light muscled, low cutability carcass

Low dressing percentage

Least apt to make the Choice grade

The poorest potential carcass merit

PHRASES:

- a more correctly finished, packer preferred steer which should yield a carcass more apt to grade “Choice”

- a heavier muscled steer whose carcass should rib with a larger eye

- a more optimally finished, heavier muscled steer whose carcass should have more value on most traditional grids

Breeding Sheep Terminology

Growth/Maturity

Positives

Higher performing

Faster growing

More weight per day of age

Larger statured/framed

Stouter featured

More powerfully constructed

Heavier boned

Growthier

More extended

More upstanding

Taller fronted

Later maturing

Trimmer patterned, more youthful and immature

More potential for future growth

Negatives

Slow growing

Frail featured

Small footed

Small statured/framed

Low set

Short coupled

Heavy conditioned and skeletally mature

Early maturing

PHRASES:

- a growthier, more upstanding ewe

-a stouter featured, heavier boned ram with more weight per day of age

-a taller fronted, more extended, trimmer conditioned ewe which is later maturing

Structural Correctness

See Structural Correctness of Breeding Cattle, substituting ram and ewe for bull and heifer.

Muscling

Positives

Heavier muscled

Thicker made

More muscle shape

Negatives

Light muscled

Flat/narrow made

Tapers out of dock

PHRASES:

- a thicker made, heavier muscled ram

Balance

Positives

Better/nicer balanced/patterned

Better/nicer/ more attractive/more stylish profiling

Flatter shouldered

Shallower breasted

Cleaner/more attractive fronted

Longer fronted/bodied/hindsaddled/hipped

Stronger topped

Leveler hipped/docked

More eye appealing

Squarer/leveler docked

Handles with a longer hindsaddle/loin

Handles longer from the last rib back

Negatives

Poor balanced

Round/coarse shouldered

Short/necked/fronted/bodied/hindsaddled/hipped

Broken/weak topped

Rounds out of dock

Steep hipped/docked

Handles with a short hindsaddle/loin

Handles shorter from the last rib back

PHRASES:

-from the side, she is cleaner fronted, longer hindsaddled, and squarer out of her dock

-a more stylish profiling ewe that is shallower breasted and becomes progressively deeper from breast to flank

Sexual Characteristics and Volume

See Sexual Characteristics and Volume of Breeding Cattle, substituting ram and ewe for bull and heifer.

Market Lamb Terminology

Balance

See Breeding Sheep Section.

Muscle

Positives

Heavier muscled

More meat-animal shape

More expressively muscled

Progressively widens from front to rear

Handles with more mass/shape/dimension to top or rack and loin

Handles deeper/fuller/squarer in loin/down top

More bulging/thicker/fuller leg

Squarer/thicker out of hip/dock

Negatives

Light muscled

Flat/narrow made

Tapers out of hip/dock

Flattens through dock

Narrow topped

Handles narrow/shallow down top

Flattens through the leg

PHRASES:

-handles squarer down his top, and was fuller out of his dock and leg

-progressively widens from front to rear, and handles with a deeper, fuller loin

Correctness of Finish/Maturity

Positives

More correctly/optimally finished

Trimmer

Firmer/trimmer handling

Handles with a more adequate degree of finish

Negatives

Soft handling

Over finished

Bare handling

PHRASES:

- a trimmer patterned, more correctly finished wether that handles firmer down his top and through his forerib

-a more optimally finished wether which handled with a more adequate degree of finish down his top and through his lower rib

Production Traits

Positives

Growthier

More upstanding

Larger statured

Stouter made/featured/boned

More powerful

More productive/practical appearing

Bolder ribbed

Deeper flanked

Higher volumed

Stands squarer

Negatives

Low set

Short coupled

Frail

Low volumed

Harder feeding

Stands:

Stand with his front legs/kneed-in, turned out

Toed out

Buckneed

Stands:

sickle hocked/on his rear legs

Cow hocked

With hocks bowed out

PHRASES:

- a growthier, stouter featured, bigger volumed wether which stands squarer on his rear legs

- a larger statured, more productive appearing wether which was deeper through his flank

Carcass Terms

Positives

Negatives

Whose carcass should open with a larger eye

Open with a small eye

Should rail/generate a higher cutability carcass

Overfinished, light muscled, low cutability carcass

A carcass with greater red-meat yield

Low dressing percentage

A higher dressing percentage

The poorest potential carcass merit

A more shapely carcass, with a greater leg score

A more packer preferred carcass, resulting in less cooler shrink

A higher percentage of trimmed hindsaddle

PHRASES:

- a leaner patterned lamb who handles with more tone to his top and should rail a higher cutability carcass

- a heavier muscled wether whose carcass should open a larger eye

- a more optimally finished, lamb whose carcass should have less cooler shrink

- handles firmer and longer loined and should yield a carcass with a higher percentage of closely trimmed hindsaddle

Breeding Hog Terminology

Growth/Maturity

Positives

Higher performing

Faster/easier growing

More weight per day of age

Stouter featured/boned/headed

More powerfully constructed

Heavier boned/structured

Taller fronted

Longer boned

More extended

Bigger/larger scaled

Later maturing

Leaner made/designed

Negatives

Slow growing

Frail featured

Fine boned

Short coupled

Low set

Early maturing

PHRASES:

- a faster growing, stouter featured, heavier boned gilt

-a taller fronted, leaner, later maturing gilt

Structural Correctness

Positives

Sounder/looser/more flexibly structured

Greater confinement soundness

More structurally comfortable

Greater skeletal flexibility

More functionally correct in his/her structural design

More functionally sound

Better/leveler designed

Weak pasterned

Bigger footed

Negatives

Tight structured

Straight through shoulder/knee/pastern/hock

Light in his/her hock

Round/short hipped

Small footed

PHRASES:

- she was more functionally correct in her structural design having more flex to her hip and hock

- a looser structured, more flexibly made gilt

-a bigger footed, sounder structured gilt

Muscling

See Breeding Cattle

Sexual Characteristics

Positives – Gilts

More feminine featured/headed

More maternal appearing

Larger and more correct vulva size

Longer necked

Broodier

Higher quality, more refined underline which starts farther forward

More evenly spaced teats

Negatives

Coarse featured

Short necked

Small, misshapened vulva

Coarse underline

Has blind/pin nipples

Positives – Boars

Larger testicled

More ruggedly made

More masculine

Cleaner sheathed

Negatives

Smaller testicled

Frail

Coarse sheath

PHRASES:

-a more maternal appearing, longer faced, more extended gilt with a higher quality, more refined underline

-a more ruggedly made, more athletic, larger testicled boar

Volume

Positives

Naturally wider structured

Bolder/more open ribbed

Wider chested/based

Higher volumed

Bolder bladed

Deeper bodied/flanked

More capacious

Negatives

Low volumed

Tight ribbed/flanked

Shallow bodied/flanked

Flat ribbed

Narrow chested

PHRASES:

-a more open ribbed, higher volumed gilt

-a bolder ribbed, higher volumed bull

Market Hog Terminology

Muscle

Positives

Heavier muscled

More meat-animal shape

More expressively muscled

Works more muscle thickness from blade to hip

Works a greater volume of muscle down his top

More dimension of muscle

Bigger/bolder/thicker/squarer topped

More bulging/thicker/fuller ham

Negatives

Light muscled

Flat/narrow made

Narrow hipped

Narrow topped

Flattens through the ham

PHRASES:

-a heavier muscled barrow that has greater muscle dimension from blade to hip

-a thicker made gilt with more shape out of her hip and ham

Leanness/Maturity

Positives

Leaner designed

Reads leaner down his top and in his elbow pocket/jowl/seam of the ham

Taller fronted

Later maturing

Longer boned/bodied

More extended

More natural/practical amount of external fat

Negatives

Fat

Short coupled

Low set

Early maturing

PHRASES:

- a barrow which reads to be leaner down his top, elbow pocket, and jowl

-a taller fronted, leaner made, later maturing gilt which has more potential for continued lean growth

Growth

Positives

Higher performing

Faster/easier growing

More weight per day of age

Pounds heavier

Negatives

Slow growing

Light weight

PHRASES:

See Market Hog Production Traits

Production Traits

Positives

Naturally wider structured

Bolder/more open ribbed

Wider chested/based

Stouter made/featured/boned/headed

More productive/practical appearing

Bolder ribbed/bladed

Deeper flanked

Higher volumed

Sounder footed

Looser structured

Bigger footed

Negatives

Frail made/boned/headed

Low volumed

Harder feeding

Flat ribbed

Narrow chested

Tight structured

Straight through shoulder/knee/pastern/hock

Tight in his/her hock

Round/short hipped

Small footed

PHRASES:

- a stouter featured, wider chested, faster growing barrow

- a higher performing, sounder footed, more productive appearing gilt

- a more open ribbed, easier feeding barrow with more weight per day of age

Carcass Terms

Positives

Whose carcass should open with a larger loineye

A heavier muscled more shapely carcass

A carcass which will probe leaner at the 10th rib

Should rail/generate a higher cutability/percent lean/percent muscle carcass

Whose carcass should have improved belly quality

Negatives

Open with a small loineye

Fat, low cutabillity/low percent lean/muscle carcass

A carcass with a thin, poor quality belly

A carcass with greater lean value

PHRASES:

- a heavier muscled, thicker topped barrow whose carcass should open with a larger loineye

- a leaner designed, gilt whose carcass will probe leaner at the 10th rib

- a leaner, heavier muscled barrow that will rail a carcass with greater lean value

- faster growing, more productive barrow with a more practical amount of external fat whose carcass should have improved belly quality

Synonyms

SHOWS: exhibits, displays, reveals, indicates, evidenced by

GRANT: concede, admit, realize, agree that, acknowledge, recognize

HOWEVER: nevertheless, although, yet, nonetheless, but

ALSO: in addition, furthermore, moreover, likewise

POSSESSES: has, represents

SURPASSES: exceeds, excels, overpowers

LACKS: is deficient, devoid, inferior

MORE: greater amount or quantity, higher degree, additionally, greater, more extensive, surpasses, exceeds, excels, more abundant

SINCE: as, because, for the reason that

ESPECIALLY: definitely, particularly, explicitly, distinctively

Footnotes

1.

This document is 4H ASJ 20.5, excerpted from 4H-ASJ-20 (formerly 4H AJL 20), 4-H Livestock Judging: a 4-H Animal Science Project one of a series of the 4-H Youth Development Department, UF/IFAS Extension. Original publication date January 2012. Visit the EDIS website at http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu.

2.

This edition of the Livestock Judging curriculum package was created by Chad Carr, assistant professor, Justin Crosswhite, graduate assistant, and Amanda Johnson, undergraduate assistant, Department of Animal Sciences. Authors of previous editions include: Julie Sexton and Karen Strickland, former project assistants, Allen Stateler, former graduate assistant; Saundra TenBroeck, associate professor and youth livestock Extension specialist, Tim Marshall, associate professor, Department of Animal Sciences; and Deborah J. Glauer, Extension youth development specialist and animal science design team leader, Department of Family, Youth and Community Sciences.


The Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) is an Equal Opportunity Institution authorized to provide research, educational information and other services only to individuals and institutions that function with non-discrimination with respect to race, creed, color, religion, age, disability, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, national origin, political opinions or affiliations. For more information on obtaining other UF/IFAS Extension publications, contact your county's UF/IFAS Extension office.

U.S. Department of Agriculture, UF/IFAS Extension Service, University of Florida, IFAS, Florida A & M University Cooperative Extension Program, and Boards of County Commissioners Cooperating. Nick T. Place, dean for UF/IFAS Extension.