Contest prepares young dairy producers

It may be a contest, but the true benefit of the Illinois 4-H State Dairy Judging Contest is that it teaches youth what it takes to raise profitable dairy production herds.

“It is important for young dairy breeders to understand the functional traits associated with high milk production over a long, trouble-free productive life of a cow,” said Dave Fischer, University of Illinois Extension 4-H dairy coordinator. “The knowledge gained translates into potential profit in an Illinois dairy herd.”

Forty 4-H members from 16 counties participated in the Aug. 17 contest at the state fairgrounds in Springfield. Briley Lenkaitis of Saline County earned first place. Other top 10 finishers in the 14 and older division include Ainsley Kratochvil, Livingston County, second; Delana Erbsen, Carroll County, third; Gage Wendling, Effingham County, fourth; Zachary Paul, Madison County, fifth; Ashlyn Kratochvil, Livingston County, sixth; Jacob Raber, Livingston County, seventh; Shana Lueking, Clinton County, eighth; Reid Bierman, Jasper County, ninth; and Rosalee Zehr, Livingston County, tenth.

The top six finishers in the junior division include Drew Lueking, Clinton County, first; Alaina Dinderman, Stephenson County, second; August Michels, Richland County, third; Evan Beal, Clinton County, fourth; Gentry Michels, Richland County, fifth; and Justin Irwin, Boone County, sixth.

Top youth will represent Illinois in the National 4-H Dairy Cattle Judging Contest to be held October in Madison, Wis. The team is supported in its efforts at the national competition by the Illinois 4-H Foundation.