IT happens only once every three years but 22-year-old Ashlee Oldfield (pictured with her calf champion female The Bank Denise) will remember Beef 2009 at Rockhampton, Queensland, for many years to come.
Ashlee, who grew up on Cowarie Station on the Birdsville Track, and one of five Rabobank Young Ambassador Award finalists, said it was a terrific opportunity to meet young people involved in the beef industry, and witness their enthusiasm.
"I really enjoyed meeting all the other contestants from all totally different backgrounds ? it was really interesting to hear all their different views," she said.
"It was also really refreshing not to be the youngest person in the room, and to see the young people all looking at new innovative ways of doing things."
Ashlee was also one of only two South Australian stud cattle exhibitors and was thrilled to win a broad ribbon in her showing debut ? calf champion female in the Shorthorn breed.
In 2006 Ashlee established The Bank stud, buying a heifer from Belmore at Naracoorte.
With further buys from Bundaleer, Belmore, and Bayview studs, along with a number of New South Wales-based studs, her stud has rapidly grown to 17 cows, which are on agistment at Mount Pleasant.
Shorthorn and Shorthorn-Santa Gertrudis cattle have always been part of Cowarie Station (located 280 kilometres north of Marree) and Ashlee said The Bank stud came from the desire to breed consistent lines of affordable, efficient cattle suited to the pastoral areas.
"It is getting harder and harder to source large numbers of pastorally-suited bulls," she said.
Ashlee admits it has been a struggle establishing a stud during one of the worst droughts on record-now in its seventh year ? but the Warburton Channel which takes water from the junction of the Georgina and Diamantina Rivers to Lake Eyre recently started flowing through Cowarie.
* Extract from a full report in Stock Journal, May 14 issue.