Ekka prime cattle championship goes to Goondiwindi producers

SUCCESS: Liz Cook, Ben Fogg and Noel Cook of Kindon, Goondiwindi, have taken home the grand champion prize for their pen of six at the Royal Queensland Show on Thursday. Photo: Kelly Butterworth
SUCCESS: Liz Cook, Ben Fogg and Noel Cook of Kindon, Goondiwindi, have taken home the grand champion prize for their pen of six at the Royal Queensland Show on Thursday. Photo: Kelly Butterworth

JUDGING the prime cattle classes was no easy task for John Manchee of Manchee Agriculture, with high quality animals in the pens at the 2018 Royal Queensland Show.

Spectators and stewards were commenting on the tough competition on Thursday and praised Mr Manchee’s efforts in selecting the finest cattle from the 272 heifers and steers.

After five years of showing at the Ekka, Liz Cook, Ben Fogg and Noel Cook, Goondiwindi took home the grand champion title.

The same Charolais cross steers also won the champion pen of six.

Mr Fogg said he was happy with their achievements.

“We bought them out of Casino as weaners in March and have been fed wheat for 130 days,” he said.

RIBBON WIN: Vicki, Brodie and Sam Budd of Wandoan with judge John Manchee of Yamburgan are happy with their win. Photo: Kelly Butterworth

RIBBON WIN: Vicki, Brodie and Sam Budd of Wandoan with judge John Manchee of Yamburgan are happy with their win. Photo: Kelly Butterworth

Mr Cook said the win was a great recognition for their work, continuing on their winning streak.

“Last year we won the pen of six and the year before we won the grand champion for the pen of six again,” he said.

The steers are also no strangers to winning after they were bought from a weaner sale where they were crowned the top pen.

“They were the best weaners I could find,” he said.

“We have been buying our pens from Casino for years and they’ve all been Charolais cross steers.

“The only difference this time is these ones are younger cattle, they’re about 14 or 15 months old.”

Mr Cook said he paid top price at Casino for the weaners that won the sale, about $3.60/kg.

Judge John Manchee said it was very difficult to choose the pen of six winner when comparing his final three choices.

“It came down to one individual animal in the second and third pens that really changed it for me,” he said.

“The first pen I thought was an outstanding pen of animals right through the whole six and there is a beautiful fat distribution.

“It was very hard to fault one particular animal although, I was a little worried about one fellow but once you get behind him you can really appreciate the yield potential and the width of the pearl that he carries.”

The Budd family also left the yards with grins on their faces, enjoying their champion pen of three win.

Brodie Budd said he was pleased the judge gave them the ribbon.

“I wouldn’t be happy to do the job at all,” he said. “There were a lot of good cattle here and he’s done a good job.”

Mr Budd said they had been entering the show on and off for about 15 years for their own enjoyment.

“No way, we don’t come out here to win,” he said.

“It’s just a good day for us and that’s the excitement, if you can see your own cattle being judged.

STRONG COMPETITION: John Manchee of Yamburgan took his time judging the cattle with the top quality cattle entered at the show. Photo: Jocelyn Garcia

STRONG COMPETITION: John Manchee of Yamburgan took his time judging the cattle with the top quality cattle entered at the show. Photo: Jocelyn Garcia

“We bred them and fed them. When they were weaning, we put them straight into the feedlot for 110 days.”

Despite being their first pen of three win, the Budds have held other titles in the past, including the champion trade steer last year.

Prime cattle sale

The auction of all prime cattle took place on Friday with bidding from hotel chains, butchers and supermarkets across south-east Queensland.

During the sale, a record of 244 steers were sold for a top of $4.40/kg to average $3.13/kg  while 28 heifers sold for a top of $3.58/kg to average $3.31/kg.

The Cook’s grand champion pen averaging 584kg attracted strong competition among buyers and were sold to Kilcoy Quality Meats for $3.38/kg.

The champion pen of three steers from Mr Budd of Willoise Grazing Company weighed 584kg and were sold to Marcelford Meats for $3.50/kg.

Andrew Bassignwaighte of Yarrawonga Cattle Company’s 692kg Santa Gertrudis, which won the grand champion single steer, sold to Marcelford Meats for $3.08/kg.

Travis Luscombe’s reserve champion Limousin steer weighing 698kg was sold to Marcelford Meats for $3.10/kg.

Mutdapilly Pastoral Company’s champion trade Limousin steer weighing 494kg sold to Nep Meats for $4.40/kg.

Steer champion

WINNERS: Alastair and Andrew Bassingthwaighte of Yarrawonga Cattle Company happy to walk away with a win in the prime beef section. Photo: Kelly Butterworth

WINNERS: Alastair and Andrew Bassingthwaighte of Yarrawonga Cattle Company happy to walk away with a win in the prime beef section. Photo: Kelly Butterworth

ANDREW Bassingthwaighte took home the 2018 Queensland Country Life champion single steer award with his Santa Gertrudis at the Royal Queensland Show.

Mr Bassingthwaighte, whose family had been showing at the event since 1965, said he was honoured with the win, describing the 692kg steer as an exceptional entry among the fierce competition.

“We haven’t been focusing on the prime cattle here for a long time so to find a good single, which we were very happy with was great,” he said.

Mr Bassingthwaighte said his steer hit the top weight quickly.

“We had to slow him down on a lighter maintenance ration,” he said. “He was overweight before he got here but on the truck, he lost a few kilograms and got underneath the entry weight.”