Published on May 26, 2022
It’s a cool morning on the HVGS farm, and our Cattle Team are working their steer, putting them through their final paces before they all take the three-hour drive north to the annual Wingham Beef Week event and competition.
Beef Week is a highlight for our Cattle Team because it offers a rare opportunity for them to participate in live cattle assessment, carcase assessment, meat judging, beef appreciation workshops, parading and judging competitions. It’s also an opportunity for the team to see the fruits of their labour, the work they have put into their steer and the benefit of waking up to those 6:00 am weekday alarms.
The HVGS Cattle team has grown exponentially since it first launched in 2018.
Always a popular endeavour for HVGS students willing to forgo a warm morning sleep-in, it’s now burgeoning to well over 60 students from Years 7 – 12.
Head of Agriculture and Cattle Team Manager Ian Bryson is heartened by the popularity of Cattle Team and agriculture in general at HVGS.
“Some of the students who joined Cattle Team when it launched as fresh-faced Year 7 students are now in Year 11 and have stayed committed members of the team. This retention is important for their own development and also for the role they play in mentoring younger and new students joining the team.”
This mentorship from Senior students comes to the fore at Beef Week when our youngest and newest members of Cattle Team can require some emotional TLC as they farewell the steer to the carcase judging competition!
“Students form a bond with their steer over months of working with them at the farm,” says Ian. “For the students with steer entered in the carcase judging competition, it can be an emotional farewell.
“But it is the past experience of the older students having been through it before and the partnership and comradery between students which helps them realise that this is but one small, sad part of a whole wonderful activity.”
Away at Beef Week 2022
This year, ten new Year 7 students are representing HVGS at Beef Week. A completely new experience, students are quickly learning that livestock do not operate on a 9 – 5 cycle, and they require feeding, washing, cleaning and, of course, plenty of last-minute preparation for competition. It’s also a very tiring trip!
“We are away for an entire school week, and it’s exhausting,” says Ian. “Our older students really step up to help the younger students care for the livestock and help manage the challenges that come with a little bit of homesickness.”
This year HVGS has entered a range of competitions: parading, judging (where students become the judge), carcase competition and for the first time, the intercollegiate meat judging competition for students in Years 10 and over. This competition attracts university level entries and requires participants to judge a ‘good steak”, before and after the animal is deceased.
“Senior students have taken a bold leap into a completely new experience which has provided a new perspective on what constituents a good cut of meat,” says Ian.
Beef Week Results – 2022
HVGS students achieved outstanding results at this year’s Beef Week returning with a swath of ribbons ranging from First Place to Highly Commended.
Congratulations to Eliza Barret, Toby Smith, Emily Layzell, Audrey McPherson, Grace Lawrence, Lachlan Lidbury and Matilda Lidbury
Congratulations to Olivia Livingstone, Caitlin Biddle, Zac Irwin and Felix Ashton (first place)
One of our Simmental steers was awarded second place in the carcase (400 – 420kg) judging competition.
Interested in Cattle Team? Find out more