Report by Chelsea Rayner
From the 21st to the 23rd of September, the New England Angus Breeders ran their annual beef cattle assessment course at the Tocal College. I received the opportunity to participate in this school as a result of my win in the intermediate junior judging at the 2015 Angus Youth National Roundup.
Over the course, our main focus was to pick cattle that would suit a particular market, whether this be breeding feeder steers and heifers or breeding self-replacing stud and commercial cattle to retain within a herd. There was also a few theory classes that we attended which outlined structure, market specifications, general animal selection criteria, the profit drivers for each market and estimated breeding values and how to interpret these.
We spent two days judging groups of four cattle, each accompanied by a scenario. These scenarios would vary from feeder steers that were to be fed on grain for 70 days, self-replacing females to be retained in a herd or cattle to be killed the next day. There were eight classes judged on the first day and then another eight classes judged the next day. The first day was spent assessing cattle that were bred for slaughter, either feeder steers or grass fed steers and then the second day was spent assessing breeding cattle.
At the end of the second day, our points were tallied and the top eight had the opportunity to speak on the last class of the day. Fortunately I got the opportunity to speak which was a really great and rewarding experience. At the end of the two days, I was overall placed 5th, which I was extremely happy with.
I would just like to thank all of the organisers, competitors and breeders who allowed us to judge their cattle, the discussions and debates had were very interesting and very informative. I would also like to thank Angus Australia for their sponsorship of my trip, especially Alice and Andrew who spend their time organising events that allow the Angus Youth to experience all aspects of our industry.
Most importantly, I would like to thank the Ireland family. Without their offer to attend the roundup with their team, this opportunity would not have been available. To everyone considering broadening their knowledge of cattle assessment and judging, I strongly recommend this course.