Holstein Canada

Participation & Procedures

Learn More about the Program

Rotation of Classifiers

Classifiers are assigned to areas in rotation to ensure that the same classifier is not visiting the same area in succession.

Animals to be Classified

At minimum, the herd owner must present all 1st lactation animals (registered with a sire) that were not previously classified. At the option of the herd owner, any unclassified animals in 2nd or later lactation may be presented for classification. And at the option of the herd owner, any previously classified animal may be presented for a possible raise in classification.

Organizing for a Classification Visit

Herd owners are mailed a list of active milking cows with their latest classification scores (if classified) three weeks prior to the classifier arrival. This enables herd owners to quickly designate animals to be classified, and to consider other animals which might be presented. The classifier arrives at the farm with the herd inventory in his/her handheld computer, so there is minimal paperwork for the herd owner.

The classifier’s safety is important. Please remove your bulls from the general population to ensure safety of our classifiers. Even friendly bulls can ultimately be a safety hazard. Our team members have the legal right to refuse unsafe work, which could include a free-stall where a bull is present.

Preparing Animals for Classification

There is no need to over-prepare animals for classification. Classifiers are trained professionals who appraise cows at all stages of lactation and at all times of the day. Over-preparation in terms of too much milk in the udders is often counter-productive to the score and typically gives cause to request cows to be milked out prior to classification. Good practices in animal husbandry are always recommended and beneficial for classification as well.

Classification Equipment

The classifier has a vehicle workstation that operates from the rear of the vehicle. The vehicle workstation acts as the conduit for classification data being filtered to and from the handheld computing device that the classifier takes into the barn. Data flows back to a laptop computer which automatically initiates the printing of high quality reports on a laser printer. This provides instant feedback to the customer with easy-to-read conformation reports. The vehicle station is linked to head office via wireless Internet so classification data automatically transfers to a national database at head office and becomes viewable for instant query by the owner and potential customers.

The classifier brings a measuring tape and laser guide to assist in the accuracy of each trait appraised.

Bio-security Policy for Holstein Canada Classifiers

Bio-security is everyone’s responsibility. Good bio-security protects businesses and jobs in primary production and supporting industry. Classifiers adhere to strict bio-security measures when providing the classification service to help minimize the risk of spreading infectious diseases.

Footwear and Hands

Classifiers wear clean rubber boots or disposable footwear at every farm visit. Upon departure from the farm, the classifier completely washes and disinfects his/her hands and rubber boots. In addition, classifiers walk through any footbath at entry to the barn.


Classifiers start each day with a freshly-washed pair of company-provided overalls. In addition, the overalls are changed if they become soiled during the day. When temperatures require additional clothing in winter, fall or spring, company-provided nylon jackets are worn on the outer-most layer. Similarly, classifiers start each day with a freshly-washed nylon jacket and change it during the day if it becomes soiled.

International Travel

If a classifier has been in contact with livestock, been on a farm or travelled extensively in a country that has foot and mouth disease, they are not permitted to visit a Canadian farm for 5 days following departure from the foreign country.