SOUTH Australian state representative Dayna Grey has won the 2022 Agricultural Shows Australia national beef cattle young judges final at the Sydney Royal Show.
The 23-year-old, who also represented her state in the national beef cattle paraders competition, hails from Marrabel, SA, but originally comes from Sheffield in Tasmania.
The competition was judged by Meat & Livestock Australia managing director, Jason Strong, Brisbane, Qld, and consisted of seven representatives from all Australian states and New Zealand.
Miss Grey qualified after winning at the Mount Pleasant Spring Royal Beef Exhibition which held a competition to replace the usual state final at the Royal Adelaide Show.
She is a fifth generation beef cattle farmer who's family is quite involved in commercial cattle and have done a lot of steer competitions over the years. She has been competing in junior judging competitions since she was 13.
"Getting the (national) ribbon was definitely a dream of that 13-year-old," Miss Grey said.
"I started with the Sheffield school cattle handlers team and my parents were really encouraging, so we went to the mainland for the Stud Beef Victoria Cattle Handlers Camp and I learnt a lot more. I met Crystal Bell and went to the Murray Grey National and then from where won a trip to the South Australia Junior Heifer Expo [SAJHE]."
Miss Grey grew and flourished from the attendance of different junior expos and having the opportunity to continue to educate herself and network with people within the industry.
"I've judge some local shows, and won the off handler camp which has led to associate judging positions including the Murray Grey National... I will be an associate judge at this year's SAJHE," she said.
She completed an agribusiness degree at Marcus Oldham College, Geelong, Vic, which led into a six week overseas internship with Thomas Foods International in Europe in 2019.
"I relocated to Adelaide with them that same year, and did three and a bit years with them," she said.
"I started in supply chain management, and worked up into a marketing management position. I finished up there mid last year.
"I recently commenced a Livestock Pregnancy Scanning business (NextGen Ag Services), supporting my partner on his family farm with the daily operations of our (North Ulandi) White Suffolk stud and a handful of cattle we also run on the side of our full-time jobs."
Miss Grey said she is busy with the pregnancy scanning business, and was scanning the day before she drove 15 hours to compete in the national final and straight after she returned.
For the young judges competition, state representatives were required to assess Hereford bulls, Limousin bulls and Santa Gertrudis heifers.
"I spoke on the Santa heifers - Bos indicus are something I haven't really judged before, and I wanted to challenge myself," she said. "I had taken the time to talk to a Santa breeder and learn about the breed, and I think that helped.
"It was a bit of a shock to win... it was a surprise to win in my first year representing but it is an honour.
"Every state winner was a deserving representative - they are brilliant judges and cattleman, and if this is where the future is in 20 years it is going to be good."
Miss Grey's next big goals involve working with her partner to grow their businesses, and get some steers to the Royal Melbourne Show alongside the stud rams.
"I would love to have the accolade of judging every Royal on my belt one day," she said. "I'd love to come back and have a crack at judging Sydney, but my heart is set on doing a steer show."
Runner-up in the 2022 national final was 20-year-old Brittany Abbott from Kolora, Victoria, and third was NSW representative Micquella Grima, Eumungerie, who secured her spot in the competition just hours prior when she won the RAS/ASC NSW state beef cattle young judges final.
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