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Choosing a Show Heifer

It’s an exciting time of year. Time to pick out show heifers for the 2023 Commercial Dairy Heifer Show season coming up in January and February. It’s a big decision. Choosing wisely from the options dairy farmers have available will impact the season to come. Ultimately, this is a calf loan program and we are grateful for dairy farmers allowing us to borrow calves for several months, trusting us to grow them up and take care of them correctly. Some criteria to think about are below.

Commercial dairy heifer shows follow the rules set forth in the 2022-2023 Georgia 4-H and FFA State Livestock Shows Rules and Regulations book available at

Heifers shall meet the following requirements to be eligible:

A. Heifers must be born between March 1 and September 30, 2022.

B. Commercial dairy heifers may be of mixed dairy breed or any dairy breed that are not registered at the time of entry. The animal cannot be registered or shown as a registered animal through December 31st of the current year following the State Commercial Dairy Heifer Show.

C. Heifers weighing less than 250 pounds and more than 850 pounds at the time of weigh-in at the show will be disqualified and considered under or over-conditioned for their age.

D. All heifers must be dehorned. Heifers not dehorned will be disqualified.

A good place to start is finding the appropriately sized heifer to match the exhibitor’s size and experience. Although a student can succeed with any size heifer, a well-matched heifer and exhibitor flow together the best in showmanship, and more importantly contributes to a good or struggling experience for the student.

Earlier dates such as March and April will end up being the largest heifers, closer to the upper vs lower weight limits. These larger heifers are best suited to taller/larger exhibitors, those with prior show experience, or high school students. These heifers are taller and stronger, so older, more experienced students have better abilities to handle them. August and September heifers will be the smallest and more appropriate for smaller exhibitors or those in younger grades. This helps these exhibitors be less likely to be overpowered by their animals throughout the season. March 1st to September 31st is quite the range and offers many options for a variety of sized/experienced exhibitors.