Narooma agriculture student Tailem Brown has gained national recognition for cattle judging at the Royal Melbourne Show.
Last week, Tailem 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,” she said.
There were three different types of cows for the contestants to judge on the day, milking cows, dry cows and dry heifers.
The contestants put the cows in the order that they rate them, taking into consideration depth of the cow’s body, the quality of their udder, the openness off their chest and the strength of their top line.
“Once we order them 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 from the Narooma suburb of Dalmeny, Tailem has been judging and showing cattle at agricultural 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.
Narooma High School agriculture teacher, Kylie Maher, helped Tailem find her passion, and now she wants to like to pass that on to others.
“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.
Next year, Tailem will attend Tocal Agriculture College, and hopes to continue her studies at Charles Sturt University.
In the future she hopes to continue showing and judging cattle, and run a stud of her own.