More than 300 students from 30 schools across northern NSW participated in the 2023 Northern Schools Prime Steer Competition at Armidale Showground for two days of education in judging, parading, public speaking and steer market specifications.
Judging the steer classes was Ben Toll, Toll Cattle, Dubbo, who spoke extensively on each exhibit, capturing the attention of students learning about visual assessment of muscle and fat specifications as well as structure and type.
Tenterfield High School claimed the title of the champion led steer, a Limousin led by Lochlan Heidrich.
Mr Toll said the steer was a benchmark exhibit combining excellent carcase traits with a sound phenotype.
"(This is) a very free-moving, well-muscled, soft steer with natural presence and commercially relevant attributes," he said.
"Production efficiency is a key factor in any steer production enterprise, and I particularly admire the high-yielding winning steer which maintained a high degree of structural integrity and displayed optimum fat coverage."
The reserve champion steer was a 540kg Speckle Park steer, exhibited by Cultivate Ag/Ersyldene Speckle Park, led by Hayden Carter.
The competition also featured a class for a number of school steers not yet fit for kill, to be taken onto further shows in 2024. Armidale Secondary College placed first in this class with a Limousin steer bred by Lachlandale Limousins, Forbes.
Ella Saul, Cultivate Ag, Kempsey added another trophy to an already full cabinet with the champion parader sash in an intense final against the first and second-place winners from their respective age groups.
The reserve champion parader was Rory Mcleod from the Mclean High show team. The team also snagged first place in the "best-kept bed" category.
Students took to judging three groups of animals looking for "kill tomorrow" specifications, and selected students spoke on these age groups.
Amelia Webb, PLC Armidale, took out the champion junior judge with 78 points out of a possible 85, assessed on her accuracy of observation, ability to compare animals, presentation, dress and public speaking ability.
The highest scoring carcase will be presented with a $500 credit towards the purchase of a steer or heifer at the Glen Innes Colin Say and Co Potential Show Steer Sale generously sponsored by Peter and Pauline Grant, The Downfall Limousins, via Stanthorpe, Queensland.
One of the coordinators, Armidale Secondary College's Grace Collins, said the show was only possible with the backing of a number of sponsors.
"The committee would like to thank them for their generous support," she said.
Mr Toll said the support of the coordinators including Ms Collins, Mark Fisher, Armidale Secondary College and Deb Snaith, McIntyre High School, Inverell, was vital. Results from the carcase competition section of the show will be released next week.