Southdown Sheep Society, NZ

"The sheep with an illustrious past and a very bright future"

The Carcase Evaluation Class or Objective Measurement Class as often referred to today has been a prime fixture for the Southdown breed at the Annual Royal Show for 40 years, and the importance of this class can be seen with the winner being awarded the Punchbowl Trophy.

To find an overall winner, bodyweight and scans of fat and eye-muscle area are fed into the scoring, as do points for forequarter, loin, hindquarter and structural soundness (more details at bottom of page).

The judging is performed by a breed judge and a procurement judge, and the procurement judge, usually a lamb drafter from one of the Meat Companies, tries to judge critically from a commercial point of view while both judges try to establish which pen of ram hoggets will breed the best lambs for the modern lamb trade.

During those many years that this carcase evaluation class has been in existence it has taken many forms and with criteria constantly being adapted as the commercial market changes, technology improves and things like scanning have become available to give better scoring analyses.

Originally the class was developed by the Council and some of those breeders who had attended the Scientific Committee seminars, and with the realisation that the Southdown needed to be acutely aware of the commercial farmer’s requirements, and by bringing in a procurement judge, the opportunity existed to promote the ‘new’ Southdown alongside the right people.

The Class has had a few name changes too, beginning as the “Million Dollar Class” before obtaining a sponsorship package from an animal health company who believed in the idea of the objective measurement class. Today this is known as the Merial Class and sponsor Merial is the leading NZ Animal Health Company, so a very good fit.

Today most breeds of sheep and cattle have ‘objective measurement’ classes at their shows, but again it was the Southdown who was first in introducing this class to show competitions and making it one of the most sought after prizes and the value of this award can be seen easily as often during those many years the winner of this class would be the top selling ram at sale time.

Possibly the most important aspect of this class, is that quantifiable information could be passed on to breeders, both in NZ and overseas thus giving those breeders something concrete to base their idea of the type of animal exhibited, or for sale. While the accuracy of some of the measurements no doubt continues to improve, having a ‘hands on’ breed judge and procurement judge ideally helps to find the best animal when mixed with the mathematical data.

No doubt this class will continue to change in the future, as the commercial needs of the world change, the habitats where animals live change, and technology becomes more affordable, more accurate, and breeders face new criteria.

To give you a better understanding of the current criteria that the Class is judged on, from both the judges’ perspective and the breeders click on the links below:

Judges’ Brief       ::        Merial Judging Format 2015

Merial Judges Card 2015        ::          Southdown Merial Scoresheet 2015


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