CALS hosts Meat Animal Evaluation Triathlon

Students evaluating swine in the Stock Pavilion. Photos by Sevie Kenyon, UW-Madison CALS

UW-Madison CALS hosted the Annual Meat Animal Evaluation Triathlon  at the Stock Pavilion Feb. 17-18, 2017. The event brings undergraduate students together from as far away as Florida and Kansas with teams from 14 universities including UW-Madison and UW-River Falls in preparation for the national meat animal contest.

Making calculation during live animal evaluation in the Stock Pavilion, Photos by Sevie Kenyon, UW-Madison CALS

Bernie O’Rourke, UW-Madison Extension Youth Livestock Specialist, explains CALS has a deep history with this contest as emeritus animal science professor, Bob Kauffman, was instrumental in getting the competition started 53 years ago. She adds that the contest is referred to as a “triathlon” because of its three parts: evaluation of live animals (sheep, swine, beef); phenotypic genetic data evaluation; and finally, meat grading where carcasses are ranked and priced according to market standards.

“This is a practice event for the national competition,” O’Rourke says. “The experience is useful in learning about teamwork, communications, and decision-making – all things employers look for.” After graduation, O’Rourke says the students are better prepared to return to farms, work in the business, or even go on to veterinary or medical school.