ALEX Schofield, a year 11 student at Kempsey High School, has been named the 2018 NSW Champion for meat judging.
Derived from a combination of individual overall scores from the Wingham Beef Week held in May and the Upper Hunter Beef Bonanza (UHBB) held in October, Mr Schofield was a front runner for the title following a very successful year.
At Wingham he kicked off the first competition by being crowned the individual champion of the beef bonanza which was comprised of results of the meat judging section as well as some live assessment components.
He was also a member of Kempsey High’s champion team, along with school mates Liam Whalen, Paton Simpson and Ruby Weismantel.
Winding up the year at the Scone event Mr Schofield was the overall champion individual with 551 points out of a possible 600, as well as the winner of the retail cut and primal ID section with 270 points from 300.
He was also part of the UHBB overall champion team from Kempsey High School along with fellow students Katie Barnett, Liam Whalen and Kirra Davison who scored a total of 1919 points out of 2400.
Mr Schofield said he had hoped to win the top-title but didn’t expect it.
“This is my biggest acheivement in meat judging to date,” he said.
First becoming involved in meat judging through the school’s agriculture program in year 7, he has only been taking part in the competitions for three years.
“I took part in year 7 and 8, then missed a few years, and this was my latest competition so I’ve been competing for three years total,” he said.
“We started doing it as part of the show team and I was interested in the meat processing and abattoir side of things.”
Mr Schofield said out of beef carcase assessment, retail cut and primal ID he enjoyed the beef carcase judging the most.
“I like analysing the whole beast after it has been slaughtered and seeing what areas it has shined and excelled at most, in terms of the grading system,” he said.
“It is only a beef carcase asessment competition so I haven’t had experience with lamb or pork but I am keen to learn more.”
Currently transitioning into year 12, Mr Schofield wants to keep doing the meat judging competitions in his final year to see if he can defend his title.
“After school I want to pursue meat science and go to UNE (the University of New England) at Armidale,” he said.
“I am interested in doing the next level of meat judging and taking part in the ICMJ (intercollegiate meat judging) competition that universities do.”
Mr Schofield is the second winner of this title from Kempsey High School.
Kempsey High agriculture teacher Gavin Saul said in the past five years the state-wide competition has been running, Kempsey students have won it on a number of occasions.
“Previous student William Saul held the title for three consecutive years, from when he was in year 10 through till his final year as a year 12 student in 2017,” Mr Saul said.
“The success of students such as Alex or Will at that level encourages and drives the junior students to want to be competitive in meat judging when they reach the 15 years and above age levels.
“They have set a standard and our other students now want to also be at the forefront of the meat judging competitions.”