Crossbred steers will make the cut for the first time in the 2022 Royal Adelaide Show's led steer competition.
This decision, announced at the 2021 award presentations at the weekend, has pleased many in the industry who had been advocating for close to a decade for Adelaide to follow the Royal Melbourne Show and Brisbane's Ekka competitions and accept both crossbred and purebred steers for judging.
Royal Agricultural & Horticultural Society of SA beef cattle committee chairman David Copping said they saw crossbred steer entries as a way to grow the beef cattle section.
"We have seen a decline in stud cattle numbers at the show in recent years with no led bull sales and less people wanting to break cattle in to show them," he said.
"Especially during these COVID times we have seen many people recognise that perhaps they don't have to show cattle to be able to sell their stock.
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Mr Copping said the details would be finalised at the committee's October meeting but a separate on-hoof section will be created which will be open to any combination of crosses.
"We are looking to maintain the integrity of our purebred competition which has such a great standing, but the winner of the crossbred class will likely go up against the purebreds for grand champion," he said.
"Because we are only expecting a few we expect they will all be in the one class or two (on-hoof) and then we will sort them into their weights classes when they go through the abattoir."
Only purebred entries will be eligible for the Thomas Foods International prize for the highest scoring team of three steers from the one breed.
It should have happened years ago, it will allow people better access to good quality steers.
"If we can get 20 or 30 (head) the first year we will be pretty happy, hopefully we can get a few new exhibitors who haven't shown before."
Simmental breeder and fitter Vaughan Campagnolo, Myponga, says it has been a "long battle" but he is pleased the committee has "got with the times".
He predicts within a few years there could be equal numbers of crossbred and purebred steers.
"It should have happened years ago, it will allow people better access to good quality steers," he said.
"Schools will no longer have to rely on a relationship with a stud breeder. It allows some juniors to go to Mount Compass, Dublin or Naracoorte (saleyards) early in the year and see a cracking calf and think 'I want to feed that one' for the show."
He is also thrilled that steers will be the feature for the beef cattle section in 2023 and hopes the increased sponsorship will be the start of a big annual prize pool.
He says this is needed as an incentive for stud and commercial breeders to put in the time and effort to show, but it would also give schools a chance to financially at least "break even".
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