For the first time, cattle's objective performance data played a large role in the judging at the Herefords Australia National show.
Herefords Australia general manager, Andrew Donoghue said the inclusion of estimated breeding values this year enabled the judge to have access to the same information buyers at a sale would have, including birth rate, eye muscle area and intramuscular fat percentage.
"We wanted the judge to have the same ability to choose a bull on both structure and phenotype as well as using performance information," Mr Donoghue said.
This year, judge Lachlan Day, Day's Whiteface, Bordertown, South Australia picked his top five bulls based purely on visual judging, including type and structure and then was given the data on the top five to help with his placing.
Mr Day said it was the first time he has used data to this extent in judging and he thought it made the process more industry relevant.
"I thought it was a really good opportunity because it's basically what do at home, I'm always using both phenotype and figures to assess cattle in the yards," Mr Day said.
The inclusion of performance data added more objective elements to the judging process but Mr Day explained it was still up to judge to determine how much weight to give the figures over phenotype or which figures were more important.
"Obviously there's a fair bit more pressure when you've got people watching, you've got a lot of cattle from a lot of different places but it's just about making compromise between phenotype and different figures."
Many exhibitors were also happy with the new system.
Tarcombe Herefords, stud co-principal, Tim Hayes, Ruffy, Victoria said they had being trying to get EBVs included in judging for a while.
"I think it's fantastic, I'm a big believer in breed plan rather than raw data so I think it's the way of the future really," Mr Hayes said.
Tarcombe bulls were given the grand champion ribbon and senior champion ribbon at this year's show.