A local agriculture student has gained national recognition for cattle judging at the Royal Melbourne Show.
Last week, Tailem Brown was a finalist in the dairy judging competition alongside other competitors from across the country.
“It’s a funny situation, because we’re getting judged on how we judge the animals,” Tailem said.
There were three different types of cows for the contestants to judge on the day, milking cows, dry cows and dry heifers.
During the juding process, the contestants are required to put the cows in the order that they rate them.
The contestants take into consideration a combination of depth of the cow’s body, the quality of their udder, the openness off their chest and the strength of their top line to come to their decision.
The competition is about observation, but a major element is communication.
“Once we order the cows we have to put our point across to the crowd and explain why we chose that order,” Tailem said.
“It is difficult, because everyone in the competition has a different view on what makes a good cow, so you have to explain yourself really well.”
Despite describing herself as a “townie” from Dalmeny, Tailem has been judging and showing cattle at agriculture shows in Bega and Cobargo for the last six years.
Further afield, she has also shown cattle at the Canberra Show and was selected to judge at the Sydney Royal Show this year and last year.
This was her first trip to Melbourne. She said the Royal Melbourne Show was a really beneficial experience where she could catch up with old friends and meet new people.
Tailem didn’t grow up around cattle, but fell in love with the animals when she began Agriculture Studies at Narooma High School.
“It’s my favourite class at school, we look after the cows, break them in, wash them, clip them, just to everything to make sure they’re happy and healthy,” she said.
The Bega Spring Show is just around the corner, but this year’s event will be the first Tailem has missed since she started showing cattle in Year 7.
“I am doing my HSC next month, so I can’t do the Bega Show this year,” she said.
Instead, Tailem will be focusing on her exams, especially Agriculture Studies and Biology, to help her realise her dream of becoming an agriculture teacher.
“I want to extend the knowledge that I’ve gained to other people, and show people how great learning about agriculture can be,” she said.
It was Narooma High School agriculture teacher, Kylie Maher, who helped Tailem to find her passion.
Now, the student wants to follow in her teacher’s footsteps and recreate her experience and joy of discovering agriculture at school for others.
Next year, Tailem will move north to attend Tocal Agriculture College where she will continue her studies and work toward a place at Charles Sturt University.
Tailem hopes to continue showing and judging cattle, and eventually run a stud of her own.