This competition takes some winning: More than 1000 steers entered by over 50 individual exhibitors, judged on their liveweight performance on the hoof as well as their processing and eating quality performance on the hook.
The overall winners of the 2017 RNA Paddock to Palate Competition announced at the Brisbane Ekka this morning demonstrated you don’t have to be the biggest to produce the best cattle.
Rob and Kelly Lamoureux, Kingsford, Armidale run a small herd of 250 cows near Armidale, NSW. They must be some cows, and the Lamoureux’s must be some producers, because they have just won one of the toughest prime cattle competitions in Australia twice in just two attempts.
They won the same award in their first try last year.
The Lamoureaux’s winning cattle were Santa Angus Black Simmental cross, the progeny of Santa Angus cows joined to a home-raised Santa Angus Black Simmental bull.
Their entry also won reserve champion carcase in the 70 day competition, and won the Eating Quality and Highest Individual Index Score in the 70 day competition.
Kelly said the win was a gratifying endorsement of the consistency of their cattle.
“I think coming on the back on the win last year, it just means there is the consistency there,” she said. “It shows last year’s win wasn’t a fluke, a bit of luck, there is the genetic consistency.”
Rob and Kelly said their approach to breeding is really about getting the basics right. They explained that they have never been swayed by EBVs, and focus on confirmation and structure of cattle, and putting the right type of cattle to the right type of country.
“We don’t try to have the biggest cows in the world, we try to match our cattle to the country.”
In some ways smaller scale was an advantage.
“I think that is a bit of a consideration,” Kelly said. “Because we’re small our cattle get a bit more personal handling, so the cattle are quieter and I think they cope with the stresses of feedlots perhaps a bit more than perhaps calves that have come out of a big mob that aren’t handled as often.”
Story and photo courtesy of Beef Central