The showing of beef cattle is the art of presenting an animal to the best of its potential to a judge who will evaluate the animal. Showmanship is also part of showing. Showmanship involves presenting an animal at its best where the skill, ability, and appearance of the exhibitor is evaluated.
Beef cattle are assessed by the judge using three key attributes:
- Structural soundness
- Traits that add to productivity and profitability – aspects such as muscle, maturity pattern and frame size
Another aspect of the cattle ring is the Paraders competition. This competition is designed to determine the competitors who present and parade an animal before a judge effectively. Competitors are aged 15 to under 25 years.
Beef cattle were introduced to Australia in 1788, with the first herds based on British breeds, particularly the Shorthorn. This breed was associated with the opening up of each new area of pastoral Australia in the early days, and was especially dominant in north-western Queensland, the Northern Territory and the Kimberley region of Western Australia. The Hereford also became dominant, especially in the south-east and south coast areas of Queensland and throughout Australia’s southern states.
Breeds of beef cattle
There are a wide range of beef cattle breeds, here are some of the breeds that we see in Australia.
- Angus. Origin: Scotland. Introduced to Australia about 1840. Features are a black coat (recessive red gene also), polled. Suited to vealer, steer and bullock production or maternal/rotational place in crossbreeding.
- Hereford. Origin: England. Introduced to Australia in 1826. Features are redcoat with white face and underline, and horned. Suited to vealer, steer and bullock production or maternal/rotation place in crossbreeding.
- Poll Hereford. Origin: USA. Introduced around 1920. Little difference between Hereford and Poll Hereford apart from Poll factor. Well suited to all markets.
- Murray Grey. Origin: Wodonga, Victoria. Developed in 1905 from Angus Shorthorn. Features are dun grey coat (range from silver grey to dark grey), polled. Suited to vealer, steer and bullock production or maternal/rotational place in crossbreeding.
- Shorthorn. Origin: England. Introduced to Australia in 1825. Features are red, roan or white coat; polled and horned breeds. Contributed to the development of Santa Gertrudis, Belmont Red, Droughtmaster and Murray Grey. Suited to vealer, steer and bullock production or maternal/rotational place in crossbreeding.
- Charolais. Origin: France. Introduced to Australia in 1969. Features are white or cream coat; polled and horned strains. Suited to bullock production or as a terminal sire in crossbreeding programs.
- Limousin. Origin: France. Introduced to Australia in 1973. Light brown in colour and horned. Breed is heavily muscled and known for high meat yield with a minimum of fat. Smaller than other European breeds and earlier in maturity, but later maturing than British breeds. Suitable for crossbreeding programs.
- Simmental. Origin: Western Europe (Switzerland, Germany, Austria, France etc). Introduced to Australia in 1970. Features are red coat with broken white markings and white face; horned and polled strains. Suited to vealer, steer and bullock production maternal/rotational/terminal place in crossbreeding.