Judge's choice: Joseph Leven, of the Northern Co-operative Meat Company, with the Grand Champion Beef Week carcase, entered by NSW Central Coast producers Val and Len Tomkins.
Judge's choice: Joseph Leven, of the Northern Co-operative Meat Company, with the Grand Champion Beef Week carcase, entered by NSW Central Coast producers Val and Len Tomkins. Jay Cronan

Hoof-to-hook win for second time

CASINO’S annual Beef Week celebrations concluded yesterday with a hoof-to-hook competition won for the second time by a Central Coast couple.

The Northern Co-operative Meat Company Beef Carcase Competition received 63 entries from NSW and Southern Queensland.

All the steers entered were no older than 18 to 24 months, were believed to have good genetics and were required to have all their milk teeth.

Val and Len Tomkins, from Clarence Town, took out the grand champion carcase with their Limousin-cross-Angus steer.

“We picked out our steer by going through our commercial herd and put them on food for so many days until they are ready,” Mr Tomkins said.

“We are very excited. We have come up every year for the past 10 years and we won the grand champion carcase a few years ago.

“Our carcases are very important to us as we breed bulls and like to see if their genetics are okay. And it’s a bit of fun.”

The competition, which is divided into four classes, judges the entries on three categories – market specification, saleable meat yield (muscularity and fat composition), and the steer is given an MSA grading by assessing its most important characteristics: Tenderness, juiciness and flavour.

But judge and Northern Co-operative Meat Company specification co-ordinator Joseph Leven relies solely on his eyes and his hands to decide the winner, not his taste buds.

“They are competing for the commercial aspects that are important to the industry,” he said.

“We aren’t looking for anything too extreme. This animal, to the normal eye, would look like nothing special, but when you look at the aspects in the competition it has done quite well.

“Sixty per cent of the meat will end up local because it’s a community festival and the local butchers buy it because it supports their town.”

There was also a school category, entered by schools to educate students about agriculture, won by St John’s College in Dubbo.



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