a newspaper man adjusts his pen

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Giving a Guernsey cow a Mohawk

Jonathan McMurray of Twin Brook Farm in Bentleyville, Pa., right, gives his Guernsey a trim before it's entered into the dairy cow shows Wednesday and Thursday at Washington County Fair. David Robins of Venetia, a farm employee, is shown at left.

By Scott Beveridge

WASHINGTON, Pa. – The last thing a dairy farmer wants to take to the county fair is a cow with a drooping spine.

The judges would give the animal negative points for being weak over the topline render it back to the pasture.

So to trick them, farmers have begun to give their cows without the best of frames Mohawk haircuts to make them appear stronger in the show pen.

This cow barbering isn’t considering cheating at the Washington County Fair in southwestern Pennsylvania.

The judges there permit the style of grooming, explained Jonathan McMurray of Twin Brook Farm in Bentleyville, Pa.

He uses an electric hair clipper to sculpt his Guernsey’s back with the precision of a master craftsman.

The hair at the withers, or the highest part of the back directly behind the base of the neck, is cropped close to the skin. Likewise he trims the hair at the top of the animal’s rump. He leaves the haircut standing taller in the center of animal’s spine where its back sags the lowest.

This is an example of the lengths farmers go to make an impression at their version of the summer Olympics.

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