Zoe Hayes (22) from Girgarre, Victoria and Sam Cox (16) from Stratham, Western Australia take out young dairy cattle judging titles

Zoe Hayes (22) from Girgarre, Victoria and Sam Cox (16) from Stratham, Western Australia have taken out Australia’s top spot in the Agricultural Shows Australia young dairy cattle judging championship for 2021 and 2022 respectively, at the Sydney Royal Easter Show today.

Agricultural Shows Australia (ASA) staged the national championships of young judges and paraders competitions with finalists from each state of Australia and New Zealand.

“Entering the dairy judging competition was something I always wanted to do when growing up, however it’s something that takes a lot of confidence. My dad is someone I grew up watching as he travelled to New Zealand and England where he was invited to judge. Being around my dad Tony Hayes and nan Gloria Hayes seeing and listening to their passion for breeding and looking at good cows is something that I have also developed a passion for, and why we show cows as a family today,” Zoe said.

2021 winner – Zoe Hayes (22) from Girgarre, Victoria

“I grew up and still live on a small 1 acre farm with a few cows. It wasn’t until I was about nine that I started helping out at a friend’s dairy in the calf shed. From there I became interested in the dairy industry as a whole and began showing cattle at the local shows,” Sam said.

Runner up for 2021 was Brittany Legge (24) from West Nowra, New South Wales and third was Bridget Liebelt (22) from Meadows, South Australia.

Runner up for 2022 was William Dudfield (19) from Somerset, Tasmania and third was Jerry English (20) from Malanda, Queensland.

2022 winner – Sam Cox (16) from Stratham, Western Australia

Judging is subjective, while there are characteristics about an animal to look for, what the judges will be paying close attention to is how clearly competitors express their decision and how they validate it. A competitor’s appearance is also important and judges can mark down for poor presentation.

The national championships are held in a different location each year. This year, the Sydney Royal Easter Show, celebrating its bicentenary, is hosting the 2022 championships including the 2021 finalists who were unable to compete at Ekka due to covid cancellations.

The National judges and paraders competition brings together the best young judges and paraders aged from 15 to 25 in each state to compete at the national finals. Qualification is via success in competitive regional and state competitions.

Overall there are nine categories for judging and parading each year under the Agricultural Shows Australia national competition program: beef cattle, dairy cattle, alpaca, poultry, Merino sheep, meat breed sheep and Merino fleece judging, as well as parading competitions in beef and dairy cattle.

Dr. Rob Wilson is chairman of ASA, the peak body overseeing 572 agricultural shows in Australia which attract six million visitors annually and contribute nearly $1billion to the national economy. Rob says the competition is designed to recognise the best new talent in livestock judging nationwide.

“It’s an extremely prestigious event and positions at the nationals are keenly contested,” Dr. Wilson explains.

“These young people are the future of agricultural show competitions which are crucial to the continual improvement of Australia’s food and fibre. The national competition is a coveted opportunity to grow personally and professionally by practising skills against the cream of the crop.”

About Agricultural Shows Australia

Agricultural Shows of Australia (ASA) was established to promote the role and significance of Australian agricultural shows to the wider community. ASA’s vision is a strong and vibrant network of agricultural shows working together to engage, influence and promote the essential value of Australian agriculture. Membership of the ASA is made up of capital city Royal Agricultural Societies and state-based agricultural show bodies, together representing over 580 agricultural shows.

For more information about the competition visit https://agshowsaustralia.org.au/educational-resources/dairy-cattle-judging/