One point separated two Livingston County siblings in the challenge to be named 2018 Illinois 4-H State Dairy Judging champion. Addison Raber edged out brother Jacob Raber for the win. The contest was held Aug. 18 during the Illinois State Fair in Springfield.
Other top finishers in the senior division of youth 14 years of age and older include Taylor Huels of Bond County, third; Jeff Kern of Monroe County, fourth; Payton Erbsen of Carroll County, fifth; Zachary Paul of Madison County, sixth; Briley Lenkaitis of Saline County, seventh; Rachel Scidmore of Carroll County, eighth; Hannah Albert of Bond County, ninth; and Nathan Erbsen of Carroll County, tenth.
Senior contestants placed several classes of dairy cattle from best to worst in traits which are important to the dairy industry, such as milk production, conformation, and soundness. They also had to give oral reasons defending their placings.
The win means more than just winning a contest. 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.
Top five winners in the junior division include Delana Erbsen of Carroll County, first; Nevin Erbsen of Carroll County, second; Gage Wendling of Effingham County, third; August Michels of Richland County, fourth; and Drew Lueking of Clinton County, fifth.
Four youth were selected to represent Illinois in the National 4-H Dairy Cattle Judging Contest to be held Oct. 1 in Madison, Wis. They include Addison Raber, Taylor Huels, Jeff Kern, and Rachel Scidmore. First alternate is Hannah Albert; second alternate is Nathan Erbsen; and third alternate is Zachary Paul of Madison County. The team will be supported in its efforts at the national competition by the Illinois 4-H Foundation.