Beef Australia Stud Cattle Chair Russell Hughes
Beef Australia Stud Cattle Chair Russell Hughes

$23m worth of cattle to be shown at Beef Australia

Cattle are moving in and wood shavings are being laid as preparations continue for Beef Australia to kick off next Monday, May 1.

On a tour of the Rockhampton Showgrounds on Thursday, Beef Australia Stud Cattle chair Russell Hughes, explained what was different from the cattle side this year.

In previous years the cattle have been spread out across various sheds and pavilions but this year they will all be in one location.

“On feedback from surveys, majority of exhibitors and visitors said they want to see all the cattle together in even rows,” Mr Hughes said.

“If they want to come look at the best of the Brahmans or the best of the Lowlines, you will see them all together.”

The estimated value for commercial cattle at the event is $3 million and just under $20 million for stud cattle.

There will be about 1700 head in commercial cattle and another 1700 with stud cattle entries.

The Beef Carcase Competition also has 84 exhibitors from 20 processing plants with 810 head of cattle nominated.

The four biggest breeds on display will be Droughtmaster, Santa Gertrudis, Brangus and Brahman.

This year is also the 50th year of the Brahman breed in Australia and there will be 180 Brahmans on the ground, up by 40 per cent on the previous year.

The cattle has already begun arriving, some coming a month beforehand.

One producer has travelled 2400km from the bottom end of South Australia.

“It sounds easy just to throw the cows in the truck and drive off to Queensland, well it’s not that easy,” Mr Hughes said.

“Down there they have a different feed ration, they are more of a cereal based ration.

“You just can’t change their diet from one to another and of course the climate, they have come from cold country into muggy country.”

The cattle were brought up to Rockhampton a month before Beef to ease them into the new conditions, so ensure they would still be in top shape by the time the expo started.

“By the time he has come to the gate the has spent $11,000,” Mr Hughes said.

“The commitment these people have to be part of this show, every three years they make that commitment to be here.

“The genetics you will see around the next few days will be the best in Australia.”

The committee has also made an effort to reduce its waste this event, implementing wood shavings instead of sawdust.

“It seems silly to spend a lot of money on something they sleep in and urinate in, it’s always been an issue with how we are going to deal with it and this year we have gone with a different product, which is wood shavings,” Mr Hughes said.

They have purchased 4,000 cubic metres of wood shavings from a company out of Bundaberg, that has a contract with the government to take trees that are milled that don’t meet the specifications, are too skinny or bent.

This has meant instead of 35 B-Doubles on the road, there are now only 10.

When the expo is over, the shavings will be returned to Bundaberg where they will be reprocessed and will end up as compost for Bunnings.

The plastic also gets recycled as garden edging.

“I think this is an industry where we don’t beat our own chest enough sometimes,” Mr Hughes said

“It is fantastic industry for the Australian economy, I don’t think we tell that story well enough.”

Schools are also heavily involved in the cattle side of the event with 76 junior led steers and 720 entries in junior events.

“We encouraged schools to get involved, it’s a big effort for them,” Mr Hughes said.

“We have schools here from all parts of Australia, we have a very strong program on Monday and they will fill the ring.”

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