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Stock And Grain Judging

( Originally Published 1915 )



Score Cards a Racial Inheritance.--From millions of toilers coming down the ages, we have inherited certain knowledge and certain types of farm plants and animals that are peculiarly adapted to specific purposes. Our schools have no right to let the farm boy become a man unconscious of these types and of the purpose for which each is best adapted. The sons and daughters of the better farmers will learn much of these from their parents, and it is not right that we teachers neglect the children of the poorer families and hence force them to stars, doubly handicapped from inheriting neither capital nor knowledge. In the European countries where agriculture is taught in the schools, young and old go to the fairs with score cards in hand to see, and to see critically. The new agriculture demands that we in America create something of a desire to get pleasure from critically judging stock and grains.

It is a well-known fact that at our " Short Courses " we find men who, when boys, could hardly be driven to school and who when they did go, crawled to school like snails, but when these same fellows became men of forty and sixty years of age they have been seen running from building to building so as not to miss a word of the next recitation. I asked the great corn man, Professor P. G. Holden, why this was so, and he said because of the method used at the " Short Course " and because of the motive given to everything.

The Use of the Score Cards.—The score cards, copies of which are given in this chapter, are not infallible guides, yet they represent the epitomized attributes which many careful observers through long periods of time have found to be characteristic of the best animals and plants. There are middle-aged men who by a kind of intuition can judge stock and grain fairly well; but in order to enable the boy to begin where his father leaves off—that is, to be a good judge early in life—the score card and some discipline in its use are indispensable. If the young learn to become good judges early, they must be made clearly conscious of the desirable attributes of the different farm products. It is often surprising what an apparently inferior mind can and does accomplish with practice under careful guidance. A boy whose mind is turned in the direction of stock or grain judging may, though not considered very bright, become an expert judge by the time he goes to college or begins farming for himself.

Score cards are changing, though they are not changing very rapidly. The teacher should aim to get copies of the latest approved score cards. Those given in this chapter are all in use in one or more of our leading agricultural colleges.

Types and Breeds.—In his article on the use of the score card, in Bailey's " Cyclopedia of Agriculture," Professor F. B. Mumford says: "The long-continued selecting of domestic animals by man has resulted in the development of certain distinct types, each of which is peculiarly adapted to supply some human need. Thus among - horses are the draft, coach, roadster, and saddle types ; among cattle, beef, dual-purpose, and dairy types ; among sheep, wool and mutton types ; among hogs, the bacon and fat types. There are many modifications of the types here mentioned, but these are distinctive and sufficiently general to include the important breeds of domestic animals."

The term breed is used to apply to one class of a certain type. Breed has reference more especially to color and form while type has special reference to purpose. An animal whose ancestors are known to be sufficiently pure may be registered and the owner may get a copy of the register, which copy he calls the pedigree. The dairyman, finding that too much attention was being given to the fancy points, created a standard for production. By this, if a cow gives enough milk for a sufficient time, she may be admitted to advanced registry. The poultrymen are just now trying to make either two classes of poultry, utility and show, or else create a new registry which will be for hens that lay a given number of eggs in a year. The terms type, breed, registered and pure blood should not be confused with the term Thoroughbred. A Thoroughbred is an English race-horse. Any animal whose parents are registered is a full blood ; one with one or more parents not eligible to registration is a grade. An animal from parents both of which are pure. blooded but not of the same breed, is a crossbred.

Stock and Grain Judging or Adolescents.—The score card work is peculiarly fitted for he adolescent. Young children may become interested in grain and stock judging, but the adolescent child is hunting for excitement and notoriety. Up to adolescence the child is fairly content to be under the control of others and to do as told, but at adolescence he desires to be treated as a companion and no-, as a subordinate. Up to adolescence he idolizes mother and father, he looks upon them as the embodiment of all wisdom, but at adolescence there comes a change and it is important that a child then gets la good ideal. At adolescence the child seems to have his renascence and wants to get in epitome all of his racial inheritance. In short, he wants to know all there is to be known. There is then the same danger in agriculture as in religion, that when the child becomes conscious of the higher ideals he will turn with too much aversion from the ideals or possessions of father or mother. The teacher should aim to inculcate a spirit of open-mindedness and tolerance. Evolution is be ter than revolution.: There must be some good in the things of father and mother, so if we wish to attain better things we should do so slowly. There is danger of the discord between child and parent spreading to the school, and at times it is necessary for a sharp and spirited contest to rid some farm or neighborhood of its inferior stock or grain. The teacher must use tact and good judgment, but she may be doing real missionary work even if it does cost pain and trouble.

The Score Card for Contests.—The restlessness of the adolescent child and his inherent longing to do something that attracts public attention may be utilized by the school in getting him to use the score card in order to enter the contests at the fairs, short courses and institutes. Here would seem to be a place for all. While athletics and d bating offer opportunities for the few, stock and grain judging offer a place for all. One may be fond of driving horses; if so, et him master the score card on driving horses. Another is fond of corn, let him master the corn score card; another the score card on fat cattle or hogs; another the dairy cow, poultry, sheep, or small grain. Where the school is large instead of using individuals the teacher should group the best ones into teams or clubs and have teams judge cattle, hogs, horses, etc. If the girls prefer, there should be judging of cooking and products for cooking, such as vegetables and fruits. These contests may be made to inculcate a lasting interest in the old farm. If a boy wishes to win with his corn, let him set about producing a winning corn. This makes necessary the learning of how to improve the soil and the cultivation, and not only the learning how but the seeing that it is done. Many farms, where children now long to move to town, would be populated with children who could not be driven off if only in their earlier years they had been started toward producing some winning grain or animals.

Standardization a Characteristic of Our Age.—The new agriculture copies from the industrial age in which we now live its most noted characteristic, which is the tendency to standardize everything. This is found in the wide adoption of uniform weights and measures, in making the different parts of machines so that they are interchangeable, in the making of bolts, auger bits, nails, twine, rope, and hundreds of other things so that now a man may buy from numbers or names. Even the length of a working day, the time of credit, the size of clothing that we wear and the grading of the food that we eat have felt this modern tendency. But, strange to say, the arithmetics, while apparently standardized beyond the possibility of change, fail to give the boy or girl things which belong to them as part of their racial heritage. There is much in the arithmetics which a child will in all probability never need, and there is much which he will need that is not in the arithmetics as yet. Very few teachers can tell what a farmer means by a three-eighths bolt, an inch and a quarter wagon tire, a standard ear of corn, No. it wheat, oats, rye, or barley.

There may be danger of bringing on arrested development by being too accurate or drilling too long on abstract things; but nevertheless the child should be taught that this is becoming increasingly an age of accuracy. Neither arrested development nor fatigue is apt to follow being accurate if the child is allowed to do actual measuring or comparing of concrete things. And while we advocate the constant use of ruler and tape measure as the child enters upon the study of denominate numbers, it is especially important that he has the tape measure always at hand for measuring the parts of plants and animals. This constant use of the tape measure explains why children taking up agriculture learn more arithmetic than those not taking agriculture.

The Discoveries of Darwin and DeVries.—The most epoch-making discovery of the last century, according to ten of our leading college and university presidents, was the discovery of evolution as recorded in Darwin's " Origin Of Species." Darwin came to his discovery by meditating on the Malthusian law as he watched the European farmers slowly and carefully, but certainly, improve their stock adapted to their purposes. It from this to the idea that God is the great Farmer and is gradually making things better by natural selection which inpsures the survival of the fittest. As explained in the chapter on Plant Breeding (Chapter II), this theory of Darwin has been supplemented by the mutation theory of Hugo DeVries.

Applications of the Darwin and DeVries Theories.—Both of these theories have immense practical application for the farmer who undoubtedly must get his best stock and' grain from a painfully slow selection of the fittest. If, however, a man has in mind the ideal type and if a wide variation toward that ideal does appear, then, like DeVries, that man may be present when God creates a new variation if not a new species. When the farmer has the chance of a kind of plant or animal. Think for a moment of what the world would have lost had the owner of the famous hors, Justin Morgan, failed to recognize something of his value! Dean Davenport says, " The Morgan horse is a breed established bya a single animal, and yet a hundred years after the death of Justin Morgan, when the per cent of his blood is necessarily slight, the Morgan characteristics still stand out clearly, constituting a type any existing breed." For a time Americans forgot the Morgan horse and made popular the ugly looking racer, but today the national government is spending many thousands of dollars to reestablish and make popular the American carriage horse which is to be a horse with the Morgan characteristics.

How to Begin with the Score Cards.—Since we learn most easily by imitation, the teacher without experience in stock judging would do well to attend the stock judging at some short course or institute (Fig,' 40). After that she may study the score card carefully to make sure that she understands each point and what part of the animal is mentioned, also the reason for the score card calling for the given size or shape. A number of the text-books on agriculture give pictures of the different animals with the different parts named or numbered. It is well to score one of the pictures and to have the class begin on pictures taken from farm journals. But scoring a picture is a very different thing from scoring a farm animal, therefore the work should not stop with the scoring of a picture.

The class must lay aside frivolity and sentiment. Scoring calls for the closest attention and the sharpest observation and discrimination. We must look upon the animal as a machine for doing work, secreting milk, putting on flesh or wool, or producing whatever is required.

Score Highest What the Market Demands.—Sociologically the city problem is that of congestion while the country problem is that of isolation. His over-development of individualism frequently works to the farmer's hurt. We must aim to make the coming generation of farmers, while happy in producing what they like, yet wanting at all times what the market demands. Our county fairs, grain and poultry shows often work a detriment by placing emphasis on the non-essentials, as the feathers instead of the egg-laying characteristics of the hen; or the beauty instead of the productiveness or market qualities of the grain. The teacher must use discrimination, and, while passing lightly on the " fine points," mark off heavily for the deficiencies in things which the market demands.

We need good courses in commercial geography adapted to local conditions. This commercial geography should emphasize the study of how the farmer may adapt his productions to fit the demands of the different Markets. Denmark teaches her young people how to make bitter that sells in the English market at from five to eight ce is more than ours does. Den-mark also teaches her farmers to grow and pack pork from hogs whose meat sells for more than ours. Why not teach American farm children to produce what the market demands ?



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