Charolais and Murray Grey breeds join forces for Vision 2020

February 13, 2020

By Hannah Powe
Courtesy The Land

TWO cattle breeds are joining forces for an industry-first youth event focused on developing and educating the producers of the future.

Named Vision 2020, the event could be a step towards a future for the seed stock industry where breeds work together to provide opportunities to the younger generation interested in finding their place within the beef supply chain.

It is scheduled for April 17 to 19 at Wodonga, and was thought up by the Charolais breed who will not be running their usual national events in Dubbo this July.

Charolais Society of Australia general manager Colin Rex, Armidale, said for the last four years the Charolais Youth Stampede ran alongside the national events, but this year because they are hosting the World Congress at the Royal Queensland Show in August that will be their national show.

“We are not going to have one in Dubbo just three weeks before the World Congress,” Mr Rex said.

“We still wanted to run a youth show as we are committed to youth events, and we thought the World Congress is in the north, why not head further south to give a different group of youth access to the event.

“The two societies saw an opportunity to increase the networking power of the participants, offer educational opportunities to the two groups that may not be available at singular events, and really focus on the fact that we are in the same industry.

“Entries are being taken as usual to the individual societies, but we have merged our rules and regulations and all the competitions and educational sessions will be combined as the Vision 2020 project.”

Similarly, the Murray Grey breed was faced with a change to their usual schedule of events when they recently made the decision not to hold the annual Murray Grey National Show and Sale in Wodonga this April.

Kate Tombs from the Murray Grey Society said there are breeds with combined national show and sales, and they thought why not do things together.

“Why not share resources? Why not let the kids mingle with each other – afterall they are going to be working together eventually in industry,” Ms Tombs said.

“We don’t want segregation, we want to be working together for a common goal, and we have had a great response so far – since entries have gone out our members are certainly happy to see it.”

Mr Rex said the combined event has a lot of merit and make a lot of sense.

“The dates worked, the concept worked and we are all duplicating the same things; we are all running junior judging, paraders and educational session, so it makes a lot of sense to collaborate,” he said.

“We can say we have 150 kids for the event, instead of 50 each, and there has been comments from South Australia that they will bring a semi across with both breeds on it. It works for people travelling distances beause they can share costs.

“The benefits of collaboration by far outweigh any negatives.”

The Vision 2020 event will run just like a normal youth show, except without the cattle classes, and each breed will still offer their usual array of scholarships.

“It will focus on the education and participation side of the event rather than the cattle classes,” Mr Rex said.

 Murray Grey Youth Stock Show 2019 grand champion judge, Emma Owen, Lincoln, New Zealand. Photo supplied.

“Junior judging will have a class of each European and British breed cattle. Structurally they shouldn’t be different but there will be subtle differences in their make up, exposing kids to different breed types and muscle and maturity patterns.

“Because both breeds have their own scholarships, participants of the Murray Grey Youth will compete for their scholarships, and Charolais participants for Charolais scholarships.”

Ms Tombs said their will be a combined dinner and auction on the Saturday night.

“We (the Murray Grey breed) have a heifer donated by Aimee Bendotti from Benview stud, WA, with proceeds of the feature lot going to the youth,” she said.

Charolais will also have a feature lot that will be finalised in the coming weeks.

A big step forward in the right direction, Mr Rex said all breeds socieities can take a leaf out of the South Australia Junior Heifer Expo (SAJHE) book.

“It is a multi-breed event running for many years that has worked extremely well,” he said.

“When you look at the participants that have gone through the SAJHE as an industry event, the friendships going across breeds have been a tremendous result for industry, not just individuals. “