Australia’s 21st Intercollegiate Meat Judging competition was held last weekend at the University of New England in Armidale attracting 93 students from nine Australian Universities along with the Japanese national team and a team from Texas Tech University in the US.
Overall team winners this year earning the coveted Roy McDonald Shield was the Texas Tech University team, who dominated the awards proceedings during the Coles presentation dinner.
Jerra McMath from Texas Tech was the highest ranking individual, winning the much sought-after Cargill Beef Australia Buckle. Cargill Beef Australia hosted the competition at its Tamworth facility.
Western Australia’s Murdoch University was the best of the Australian teams, finishing second, with Sydney University, third. The University of Melbourne entered a team for the first time and placed fourth overall, and coach Hyatt Frobose won the prestigious Tom Carr award for coaching excellence. Fifth place went to the visiting Japanese national team. There was a total of 25 coaches engaged in the competition with their students, mostly studying agriculture, agricultural science, and veterinary science.
Other tertiary institutions involved included Tocal Ag College, University of Qld (Gatton), Adelaide University; Charles Sturt University, James Cook University, and Adelaide University.
Whereas the visiting US team had already competed in seven similar contests in the US, and trained 70-hours a week for competition since August, the Australian undergraduate teams all compete on an 'extra-curricular' basis. Most of the beef judging component was based on evaluation of quality and yield traits.
The presence of the experienced US team brought a high level of professionalism to the program, providing an excellent benchmark for Australian team to aspire to.
The weekend competition followed three days of workshops and seminars in which students heard from numerous industry leaders, giving them a true perspective on the Australian and global meat and livestock industries.
Meat Standards Australia manager and president of the Australian Intercollegiate Meat Judging Association, Michael Crowley said this year’s program was exceptional, incorporating all sectors of the industry from breeding and lotfeeding through to processing and research on all species.
“The students gained an immense amount of practical and applied knowledge about the meat and livestock industries which they can take with them into the real world to help create solutions for the challenges which face the industry,” Mr Crowley said.
Coach of Australia’s top ranked Murdoch University team and post-doctoral research fellow, Peter McGilchrist, said the goal of the meat judging program was to expose students to the basics of meat science and make them more aware of the end product within a production system.
“Processing red meat and pork to ensure a quality product which the consumer desires is critical to the industry’s longevity and it is becoming more challenging as we advance into the 21st century,” Mr McGilchrist said.
The star-studded lineup of speakers to address the students at the event included:
- Australian Agricultural Company’s chief operating officer, Troy Setter
- chief executive of the Australian Meat Processors Corporation, Michelle Edge
- Southern Livestock RD&E Manager for MLA, Dr Alex Ball
- chief executive of JBS Australia, Iain Mars
- research manager of Australian Pork Limited, Dr Darryl Dsouzas, and
- Cargill Australia livestock manager, Grant Garey.
“We are fortunate that the major sponsors of the event MLA, AMPC, Australian Pork Ltd, Cargill Beef Australia, UNE and Coles Supermarkets see the true benefit in educating the young enthusiastic graduates of tomorrow to ensure the red meat industry’s continued enhancement and improvement in productivity and profitability” Mr Crowley said.
Other sponsors included T&R Pastoral; AWX Recruitment; Woolworths, AA Co, Jacksons Quality Meats and Teys Bros.
“It is of paramount importance that we attract the very best graduates back into exciting careers right across all sectors of our industry,” he said.
Following the competition ten successful students were shortlisted for the Australian National team which will travel to the US for a Red Meat industry tour and compete in at the National Western Stock Show in Denver, Colorado in January next year.
The ten candidates will undergo further MSA training in Brisbane in September, with five being selected to represent Australia in the international competition.
The top ten students selected this year (click on the image below for larger image) included Melissa Adams, Tocal Agriculture College; Amy Suckling, Murdoch Uni; Naomi Hobson, Charles Sturt Uni, Wagga Wagga; Alister Knight, Melbourne Uni; Claire Payne, Murdoch Uni; Mel Podgson, University of Western Sydney; Engela Gildenhuys, Murdoch Uni; Glenn Bulloch, University of New England; and Lucinda Sheppard and James Corcoran, both University of Sydney.