There was a quality line-up of led steers and heifers at Covid-free Glen Innes at the weekend, with $20,000 worth of sponsorship money on the table.
The Colin Say and Co Led Beef Extravaganza showcased 145 head from NSW and Queensland, many of them intended for the Brisbane Royal or Beef Bonanza at Scone before the pandemic put paid to such events.
The O'Dwyer brothers from Dalby, Qld - Anthony, Matt and Ben - were awarded Grand Champion steer with a black Limousin, 668 kilograms, bred themselves from a Benjarra Limousin bull.
The brothers came up against stiff competition in the heavy weight class, beating another black Limousin exhibited by Luke Cox and Emily Kahler of Toowoomba, Qld, in which judge Ben Toll, St Johns College at Dubbo, said he was splitting hairs.
"The grand champion steer epitomises perfection and is a great example of a modern exhibition steer that is rail ready right now," he said in his final wrap. "The steer has hit the optimum market specifications to perfection and is a great example of a well balanced, structurally sound show animal."
Mr Toll complimented the show committee Shad Bailey and Nathan Purvis of Colin Say and Co livestock agency, Glen Innes, on "providing a valued scaffold for breeders to showcase their livestock" and to the exhibitors for selecting, feeding and preparing such quality cattle.
Middleweight led steer was awarded to an Angus/Limousin, 530kg at 13 months, exhibited by Steve Hayward and Kellie Smith, Allora and led by Karen Griffiths, Wyllie Creek via Tenterfield.
Judge Mr Toll said the British/Euro cross complimented each way, providing extra yield with softness.
Reserve ribbon in that category went to a Limousin/Angus, 461kg, exhibited by Travis Luscombe, Toowoomba, who bought the calf out of last year's Colin Say and Co potential show steer sale.
Mr Luscombe, who started showing steers as a schoolboy in 1995, was sashed winner of the tough lightweight class with a Limousin/Speckle Park cross, 423kg, bred by Matt and Shannon Sowden and bought as the jackpot champion at the Combined Forces sale in Kalbar, Qld.
Reserve ribbon in the lightweight class went to a Charolais/Angus and Hereford cross, 405kg, exhibited my Ironpot Pastoral, Kyogle, led by Olivia O'Reilly, and bred by David and Jill O'Reilly, also of Kyogle.
Judge Mr Toll said his decision came down to a choice between the softness, depth and balance of the Charolais cross and, in the case of the Speckle cross, "enormous extra yield".
Champion led heifer was awarded to a Murray Grey cross exhibited by Syndicate Show Steers, Glen Innes, and bred by Brian and Noeline Grogan, Tenterfield, who won the same class at Glen Innes last year with a heifer exhibited by McIntyre High School. The breeders now face a daunting task of creating a hat trick in 2021.
Bred from a Simmental/Limousin cow by a Wallowong Murray Grey bull, the judge said she presented as "the total package".
Mr Grogan said he would go home and give the bull an extra biscuit of hay. "The competition was particularly strong this year," he said. "They all deserve a ribbon just for being here."
Reserve champion heifer went to a faultlessly presented Charolais, 420kg, bred and exhibited by the Nicholls family's Tookawhile Show Steers of Rukenvale via Kyogle.
Junior exhibit champion steer was awarded to a Limousin x Charolais/Murray Grey, 540kg, exhibited by Holy Trinity School, Inverell, and bred by the Bailey family, Glen innes. The reserve champion was an Angus/Limousin, 425kg, exhibited by Compass Creek Cattle.
Junior champion heifer was a Santa Gertrudis, 434kg, led by students from Coonamble High School, with the reserve ribbon going to Holy Trinity and the Bailey family with a Limousin x Charolais/Murray Grey, 538kg.
Results from the carcase points portion of the Led Beef Extravaganza will be live-streamed on the Colin Say and Co Facebook page on Monday, September 21 at 7pm.