French breed dominates the competition

 Doug Lindsay Memorial Trophy winner Evan Ferris, of Waikaia, admires a Limousin heifer (right)...
Doug Lindsay Memorial Trophy winner Evan Ferris, of Waikaia, admires a Limousin heifer (right) which won him the supreme prize in the hoof section of the Otago-Southland Hoof and Hook Beef Competition in Gore last week. The other heifer, entered by Mike Thompson, won the supreme champion prize of the hook section. PHOTO: SHAWN MCAVINUE
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A pair of Limousin heifers from the same farm took out at top prizes at the Otago-Southland Hoof and Hook Beef Competition last week.

The judging of the hoof section was at Charlton Saleyards in Gore on Wednesday and the hook section at the Alliance Group’s Mataura plant on Friday.

Stock manager Evan Ferris, of Waikaia, won the Doug Lindsay Memorial Trophy for his Limousin heifer.

It was the fourth time he has won the trophy entering French breed of beef cattle.

‘‘Once again with a good ol’ Limousin.’’

He worked on Mike Thompson’s about 350ha sheep and beef farm in Wendonside, helping breed about 30 purebred Limousin cows as a hobby.

A heifer Mr Thompson entered in the competition was named the supreme winner of the hook section.

Mr Ferris said they fattened about 300 yearling cattle in a shed on the farm through winter.

The cattle in the shed — mainly Angus, Charolais and Simmental — were feed a diet including wheat and lucerne to fatten them.

The Limousin eat grass and baleage.

The secret to keeping the Limousin calves in good condition was to breed them from good cows and bulls and then feed them well.

‘‘It’s good to see the results if you’re feeding your cattle well.’’

Competition committee chairman Barry Gray, of Owaka, said he had been involved with the competition for about 30 years.

The 21 entries this year was the fewest he could recall.

The ‘‘biggest criticism’’ of the competition was it was held too late in the year.

The timing was dictated by Alliance, which could only hold its part of the competition outside of peak times.

The committee had signalled the competition would be better in April or May.

‘‘We’d love to have it earlier but we will play it by ear.’’

Steers featured more predominantly than past competitions — a mix of 11 heifers and 10 steers.

Heifers often featured more in past competitions because they matured earlier than steers and were often in better condition in winter.

Another ‘‘nice’’ trend in this year’s competition was 90% of the cattle were breed by the competitors.

In past competitions, more of the cattle entered had been bought in prime condition at sales.

‘‘Which is hard to compete with.’’

For the first time, competitors were not allowed in the chiller for the judging of the hook section due to new regulations for the meat to be able to be exported to China.

Mr Gray said farmers guessed the weight of their entries for the hoof section categories.

However, when the carcasses were put on the scales for the hook section, it revealed many of the cattle should have been entered in different categories.

A team of Alliance grading staff judged the meat and took photographs of carcasses for competitors.

For the first time the carcasses were judged on eating quality including intramuscular fat, or marbling.

Other criteria are used to determine the carcass awards including dentition, muscle class, fat cover, ribeye area and pH.

‘‘They all got top marks for pH — so that’s a good sign.’’

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