A shake up of the 2019 Royal Adelaide Show beef cattle and led steer judging timetable has been confirmed which will see stud cattle judging move from the start to near the end of the 10-day event.
The Royal Agricultural Society of SA announced this week it will go ahead with its plans to put cattle in front of larger numbers of the public.
The led steer on-hoof judging will be held on Sunday, September 1.
Stud classes will be held from Thursday, September 5 to Saturday, September 7, with the pinnacle of judging, the interbreed on the show’s final day, Sunday, September 8.
Interstate cattle will then be able to leave from 2pm that day and all other stud cattle will depart on Monday, September 9.
The decision has been largely welcomed by stud breeders but the Agricultural Teachers Association of SA say led steer entries could drop by more than 50 head.
Late last year the RA&HS beef cattle committee informed exhibitors it had been difficult to have a ‘decent display’ of beef cattle for the final weekend of the show and unveiled a new program.
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In 2018 nearly 120,000 of the 470,000 showgoers (about one quarter) came through the gates on the second weekend (Day 9 and 10).
The initial program drew some concerns, particularly from ag teachers, about the potential clash with sporting finals holding the led steer judging on the first weekend of the show.
Those schools which participate in both led steers and the schools’ wether competition, held three days later, also face potentially longer stays in Adelaide.
Royal Adelaide Show general manager Michelle Hocking said the Beef Cattle Committee had met again and decided to go with its initial plans to ensure there is a good amount of cattle spread across the 10 days of the Royal Show.
Exhibitors have been notified and provided with a new program of events.
Agricultural Teachers Association of SA president Sue Pratt says it is disappointing the committee did not take their concerns seriously.
She says the previous program had been busy for those schools involved in goat wethers, led steers and Merino wethers, but it had minimised the time students and teachers had to be away from school.
She said as many as 14 schools (about one third of those involved) could make the difficult decision not to show steers at the Royal due to the increased cost and logistics.
“It is hugely expensive ($550 a day) to have a teacher out of school. When it was two or three days it wasn’t so bad but any longer than that and the principals are not willing to do it and most of the teachers teach Year 12 so don’t want to be away for a week anyway,” she said.
“The biggest problem is having it over a weekend cuts out many kids involved in local sport with many playing in finals."
Ms Pratt said ATASA understood the need to educate the public about the beef industry and have cattle on display throughout the show and had proposed an alternative when it met with the RA&HS.
It wanted to have the program remain the same and introduce a crossbred cattle section in the final few days.
However this was dismissed by the beef cattle committee.
‘We won’t know until we see the numbers that register for the show and with time to digest some many come up with some solutions, but it will have a big impact,” Ms Pratt said.
“We will still get cattle at the school and support our local show but then sell them privately and shows like Mount Gambier will pick up numbers.”
Ms Hocking expected if there was a drop in steer numbers it would only be temporary.
“We will do everything possible to work with each of the schools to encourage participation,” she said.
“Schools will individually be written to advising of changes and requesting they contact the Society for assistance if need be.”
Ms Hocking said the maximum number of steers entered by an exhibitor in the purebred classes had been lifted from three to five, meeting an ongoing request by exhibitors.