First Hereford win at Heifer Challenge

First Hereford win at Heifer Challenge


Beef Week Multimedia
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TARCOMBE Herefords and Poll Herefords has taken out the top prize of the RASV Heifer Challenge, becoming the first ever Hereford breeder to win the title.

TARCOMBE Herefords and Poll Herefords has taken out the top prize of the RASV Heifer Challenge, becoming the first ever Hereford breeder to win the title.

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RASV director Jason Ronald OAM, with the winners of this year's RASV Heifer Challenge Tim and Cindy Hayes, Tarcombe Herefords and Poll Herefords, Ruffy.

RASV director Jason Ronald OAM, with the winners of this year's RASV Heifer Challenge Tim and Cindy Hayes, Tarcombe Herefords and Poll Herefords, Ruffy.

Tarcombe principals Tim and Cindy Hayes accepted the prize at a celebratory dinner in Bendigo on Tuesday night, marking the end of Stock & Land Beef Week.

Mr Hayes, who had been a finalist in 2014 and 2015, but never come in first place, said the win came as a complete shock.

“We were very happy to be in the top 10, but did not come expecting to win,” Mr Hayes said.

“Especially given the quality of the other studs in the top 10, they’re studs that I look up to, and strive to breed similar cattle to, so it was a big shock.”

He said they have been looking to find an even balance of sound and structure in their cattle.

“One of the things we pick on is evenness of type, we’re trying to breed moderate cattle, that finish well on grass and can perform in feedlots,” he said.

RASV Heifer Challenge judge Alex McDonald said there was a very good field of competition among the 48 entries.

“I made a point of asking owners about their breeding objectives, and how they related to their clients’ markets,” Mr McDonald said.

“I was very impressed, the majority of breeders were very clear about what they were doing with their herd.

“Apart from a few exceptions, people are striving to breed moderate sized cattle, with big performance.”

He said he looked hard at structure, in particular at feet and back legs.

“There may have been some groups with back legs that just weren’t quite up to scratch, and they would have just missed out for that reason,” he said.

He said it was a very challenging job picking a winner out of the 10 finalists.

“I scored each group as I went around, and put the scores in a spreadsheet, based on a 100 point system,” he said.

“There was a 2.5 point difference spread across the top 10.”

He said in the end, he couldn’t go passed Tarcombe.

“I was very impressed with Tarcombe, they had very clear breeding objectives, and knew their clients very well,” he said.

“Their heifers appeared to be achieving exactly what they wanted, and as well as that, they had great temperament and structure.”

RASV Heifer Challenge judge Alex McDonald on why he selected Tarcombe Herefords and Poll Herefords as the winner of the competition.

RASV CEO Mark O'Sullivan said the event is a good opportunity to acknowledge and celebrate the finalists' contribution to the beef and agricultural industries.

"It's a good opportunity to get out there and get face to face with these producers," Mr O'Sullivan said.

"It's a big effort, criss crossing across two states, and travelling over 7000 kilometres."

The nine other finalists were presented with certificates on the night, including reserve champion Murdeduke Angus, who was represented by Lachie Wilson.

Other finalists included Boonaroo Angus, Wormbete Simmentals, Yavenvale Poll Herefords, Weeran Angus, Caskieben Shorthorns, Rangan Charolais, Lindsay Murray Greys, and Banemore Poll Herefords.

Tarcombe Herefords principal Tim Hayes on winning the 2017 RASV Heifer Challenge.
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