The largest eye muscle on the RNA grounds at the Ekka is something normally associated with the pure European breeds being exhibited, but it’s a claim that the Braford breed was able to make this year.
Little Valley Milford, weighing in at 1052kg, dominated the Braford judging with his eye muscle area of 150 square centimetres.
It was a meaty amount only nearly matched by a Limousin bull with 148 and a Brangus bull on 147.
The claim to fame topped off a good showing for Cameron Bennett’s Little Valley Grazing Co in particular, and the Braford breed generally, which had four times the number of entries in the ring this year as last year.
As judge Glen Pfeffer said, if ever a breed was evolving, it’s the Brafords.
“I feel sure that when that meeting was held in Rockhampton in 1962, to start the breed society, the people there would never have envisaged what the breed would be doing today,” he said.
“It’s a breed that I’ve watched ever since I was a kid.
“Today we’re seeing that polls are to the fore, along with that slick coat and tight sheaths.
“For a Bos indicus to have the largest eye muscle – on top of a Brahman having this last year – shows how the breed has changed emphasis.”
It was an outcome that winning breeder, Cameron Bennett, was pretty happy with.
“The eye muscle is the main cut so it’s very important to get that right,” he said.
“But our animals aren’t tight, they’ve got beautiful skin.”
The New South Wales stud won all but one of the main awards on offer in the judging arena, claiming champion cow, reserve champion cow, champion bull and grand champion exhibit ribbons.
The stud is well-known in the Ekka ring, having won the major prizes many years in a row.
Most of its ribbons went to Little Valley Milford, who was fathered by Taroela Lawson, a 2005 purchase that has been doing a tremendous job for the stud as a sire.
“Milford is one of the last of his sons, and we’ll be taking him to the national Braford sale in Rockhampton in September,” Cameron said.
He will also go with the broad ribbon for supreme exhibit at the feature show at Warialda in New South Wales in May this year.
Right alongside him was Little Valley Brie, judged the champion cow or heifer of the show.
Without any irony at all, judge Glen Pfeffer described Brie as “oozing quality”.
She too boasted Taroela Lawson as her sire.
Stablemate Little Valley Miss Deeva, the winner of the younger 16 month to under 20 month class, was the reserve champion cow or heifer.
The McNamara family. based at Bell, claimed the reserve champion bull ribbon with Strathgyle Benefactor.
In the 16 month and under 20 month class, he hit the scales at 738kg and has been growing fast with an average daily weight gain of 1.31kg.
His EMA was 118 sq cm.
The Bellray stud, based at Manilla in New South Wales, was the breed’s third exibitor.