The Road To The Green Shavings

Since 1977, dairy cattle have been shown at the North American International Livestock Exposition -- typically one of the first species to walk the green shavings and the last to leave during week one. Arriving as early as the Monday before show day, dairy cattle fill aisles across the barns of the Kentucky Exposition Center, ready to compete, but getting to this point is where the real work comes in.

Getting the lovely ladies show-ready is no small feat. Starting with a spring calf just learning to walk on a halter to walking on the green shavings as a cow with the hopes of winning Supreme Champion, months, if not years, of time, money, and effort are put into them to get them looking their very best.

Countless steps and hoofprints have all led up to the moments before it’s time to show.

Halter breaking and learning to lead on the halter are the first steps of preparation, which is usually done several months prior to the show. Daily washing and shampooing to promote hair growth to perfect her show day topline and skin health are also essential. A good, formulated, and balanced diet to meet her needs to produce milk to fill her udder just right, or in a heifer’s case, to give her the perfect amount of fill without becoming fat, is imperative. Once she reaches breeding age, that must be considered, as well as her calving date.

All these things plus much more are what it takes to prepare a dairy animal to be show day ready for the green shavings of NAILE.