Local farmers have met with overwhelming success at one of the largest cattle competitions in the southern hemisphere.
Cattle judging at the Royal Brisbane Exhibition Show, or the EKKA, started last week with thousands of head of cattle descending on the showgrounds to be paraded, judged and displayed.
Steers bred by Dennis Power from ‘Glenrowan’, Minnamurra Pastoral Company, near Boggabri won the 70 day feedlot ‘Paddock to Plate’ challenge this year.
A bull from Narrabri, Wave Hill Jager, bred by Philip and Sylvia Kirkby, won the Grand Champion Santa Gertrudis Bull.
The national competition attracts the best cattle from across Australia and both families are ecstatic with their success.
“We knew he was a good bull but there were 167 Santa Gertrudis entries in the stud classes, a very strong showing of cattle and probably one of the best showings of Santas I have ever seen,” Sylvia Kirkby said.
Wave Hill Jager is by Sylvia’s bull, Warenda Charlton, and Philip’s cow, Wave Hill F53. At just over two years old he weighed 978 kilograms with a daily weight gain of 1.19 kilograms per day and an eye muscle area of 137 EMA.
He won the 24 to 27 month age class before going on to win Senior Champion and Grand Champion Santa Gertrudis bull of the show.
“He is a very nice dark coloured, soft bull with a lot of breed character, which is highly sought after these days,” Sylvia explained.
Wave Hill Jager will go up for sale at the Santa Central bull sale this year.
Philip Kirkby is currently recovering from a stroke and was unable to attend the presentation.
“It was a huge win we had up there and here I was in hospital missing it all,” he said.
Mr Kirkby is now on the mend.
For Dennis Power at Boggabri, the Paddock to Plate challenge involved four stages of judging including feedlot performance (weight gain), Meat Standards Australia (MSA) grading, MSA meat tenderness and quality test, and taste testing by Brisbane chefs.
“We’re obviously over the moon with the result, I mean there’s over a thousand steers in the whole competition with 400 hundred in the 70 day class, so we are very happy,” Dennis said.
Minnumurra also placed 1st, 2nd and 3rd in a similar class at The Land’s Beef Spectacular Carcass judging competition in Wagga Wagga earlier this year.
“It’s only been in the last couple of years that we’ve started entering these carcass competitions to benchmark our cattle against some of the best producers in the country, so to have done well at the Beef Spectacular and then again at the Royal Brisbane is extraordinary,” Dennis said.
“We have spent almost 20 years focusing on our Angus genetics and we’ve always put a lot of effort into the bulls each year but we’re also very selective with our females.
“So we’re getting big percentages of live calves on the ground and we’ve increased the growth rates through the bulls we’ve been buying.”
Dennis moved to Boggabri eight years ago and is gradually expanding and developing his cattle operation.