Students take bull by the horns

The South East Cattle Handlers Committee held a cattle handling workshop recently after a two-year COVID-19 induced break.

The Mount Gambier Showgrounds hosted 75 school students from six schools across the region to learn about showing cattle which tailors into the Led Steer program.

Students learnt ring craft where they were taught how to hold the rope safely and conduct themselves safely, prepped cattle and learnt about steer selection.

A career panel was conducted by industry members Thomas Foods International Southern Cross farm manager Martin Ebbs, Brad Creek, and TDC stock agent Brooke Green.

The workshop was sponsored by Rods Livestock Nutrition and Mayura Station who awarded Grant High School student Isabelle Jones a scholarship to attend South Australia’s Junior Hiefer Expo.

At the end of the day there was a mock judging cattle competition with schools vying for a trophy, with Tenison Woods College emerging victorious.

Through the Led Steer program, schools have donated animals from now until October which they feed, break in, and take to either the Mount Gambier, Adelaide or Melbourne shows for a carcass competition.

It gives school students the opportunity to do everything to prep steers for showing from washing and drying to clipping them before they are parading around the showgrounds.

At the end of the competition, the steers get sent to Teys at Naracoorte to be processed and judged on the quality of their meat.

South East Cattle Handlers Committee president Danielle Tulak said without these programs there would not be the next generation coming through into the agriculture industry.

“The Royal Adelaide Show being cancelled for the last two years has been tough and the number of kids showing cattle has certainly dropped off but thankfully the Mount Gambier competition has gone ahead the last two years through COVID-19,” she said.

“This program teaches students the foundation skills of cattle showing and a lot of these children have not touched cattle yet because they have only just got to school.

“We have a mixture of students from years 7-11 which is interesting because of where they are at with their learning, but it is an excellent place for them to learn in a safe environment with great cattle and even better people.”

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