TOP Classifications

TOP Classifications

TOP (Traits Other than Production) Classification is a voluntary system of classification of registered females based up type and individuality. TOP Classification recognises that progress towards the improvement of the Ayrshire breed should be obtained through animals superior in conformation as well as production.

Classification is undertaken by the Association in late spring each year. Animals are scored by trained inspectors on a scale of 1-9 for 11 different conformation trains along with scores for ‘udder overall’ and ‘dairy conformation’. Two-year-olds are also scored by the owner for management traits.

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About TOP Classification

The main objective of the TOP system is to provide accurate and unbiased comparisons of cows and sires, thus providing herd owners with easy-to-use information.

Members are encouraged to submit all two-year-old cows (both pedigree and grade), along with any older animals they wish to have reclassified. In particular, the two-year-old data from both farmer and inspector scores plays a large role in calculating sire proofs and the information is invaluable in that respect. Any member with a minimum of 20% of their two-year-olds sired by the Semayr Progeny Test Team bulls is eligible to classify all two-year-olds free of charge.

Purpose & Value of TOP Inspections

  • When all two-year-olds in the herd are inspected, breeding values for the TOP traits are fine-tuned for the individual animals resulting in a more accurate prediction for how the animal is expected to breed the trait concerned. This is like “herd testing” for conformation traits. The reliability for the breeding values increases when generations of two-year-olds are inspected over time.
  • The raw scores for individual traits paint a picture of how the cow appears for each trait. This adds significant value for marketing the cow or her progeny, especially where the ancestry is also assessed. In addition to scores on individual traits, animals receive a classification award that categorises them based on the standard of conformation overall.
  • TOP raw scores for individual traits contribute to sire proofs and the calculation of TOP BVs for individual bulls. Specifically, information collected on two-year-old daughters of bulls also receiving their first production proof is vital industry good information.

Pricing and Information

Prices (GST exclusive)

Standard herd fees do NOT apply to Senior members, this is included in your membership subscription.

Herd Fees
Herd Fee$50.00
Late Herd Fee (after application closing date)$60.00
Late Herd Fee (over one month after application closing date)$150.00
Autumn Herd Fee$66.96
Price per animal
Older animals$6.00/cow
Manual Entry Charge (when not on herd records)$1.00/animal

There will be a minimum charge of $100.00 plus GST if not all two-year-olds (by breed, by sire) are inspected.


  1. All two year old heifers by breed, by sire, whether pedigree or grade, must be put up for inspection. Members are advised that where it is identified that two year old Ayrshire heifers are not inspected without an appropriate reason, then all awards and/or scores for the two year old cohort may be removed from DIGAD at the discretion of Ayrshire New Zealand.
  2. Inspections must be carried out in suitable yards for drafting and be on concrete.
  3. The member or one staff member must be present during the inspections to assist with drafting etc.

Registration of Grade Heifers

At the members discretion, any animal not showing as PA or SA on the inspector’s screen (i.e., grade animals) will be given a final classification award and an ER (eligible for registration) code. These animals will be registered automatically by the Ayrshire New Zealand office and a registration fee charged, as well as the classification charge. These animals will be charged at the registered heifer TOP price.

Farmer Sheets

Farmer Sheets will automatically be sent for all two year olds. If you wish to have Farmer Traits entered for your older animals, download a blank Farmer Sheet below. Members may also select to complete Farmer Traits via a phone app.

Blank Farmer Sheet

Health and Safety & Bio Security

Ayrshire New Zealand will confirm the date and times of your inspection. Please ensure that any health & safety policy requirements for your farm are provided to Ayrshire New Zealand at least one week prior to the scheduled inspection.

All members are asked to make hot water and scrubbing brushes available to inspectors to prevent cross-contamination between farms.

TOP Classification Application

Closing Date for Applications is September 29, 2023

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