Plentiful pastures have set a good base for farmers readying commercial stock for this month’s McIntosh & Son Mingenew Midwest Expo.
After a hiatus of more than 10 years, two livestock competitions were brought back to Expo last year — the flock ewe competition and the heifer competition, sponsored by Elders.
Expo livestock steward and local farmer Brad Kupsch said competition would be fierce this year, after a successful reintroduction in 2017.
Mr Kupsch, co-principal of Tara Limousin and Black Tara Angus studs at Allanooka, said stock were looking sound after good rainfall.
“After a bit of a tough summer and tough start to winter, it has been very good since with a very kind outlook leading into spring,” he said.
“The success and the interest peaked by having it last year has given us a lot more interest.
“The sheep competition in particular sparked a lot of conversation and banter between farmers.”
Moora cattle producer Murray Grey will judge the cattle heifer competition for the first time, taking the reins from last year’s judge, Tonebridge Grazing beef producer Matthew Dela Golla.
Cattle of any breed, including crosses, will be judged for structural soundness, femininity, carcase quality, uniformity and temperament.
Mid West shearer Mike Henderson will judge the flock ewe competition, which was last year judged by Beaufort Vale Merino stud Darren Chapman, of Boyup Brook.
Teams of maiden Merino ewes showing no more than two permanent teeth will be judged on their wool and commercial qualities, as well as conformation, structure and size for type.
Mingenew sheep farmer Geoff Cosgrove placed first in last year’s flock ewe competition with a pen of Barloo-blood ewes.
Irwin House producer Sally O’Brien’s pen of Angus-Santa Gertrudis-Shorthorn heifers took out first place in the heifer competition.
Mr Kupsch said each competition had a commercial focus, with no stud sheep or cattle.
“We want to highlight the strengths of the commercial breeder in their own environment,” he said. “Judges will be picking up commercial strengths, so what you could be looking for in your own, successful breeding system.”
Points will be awarded for structure, temperament, market suitability and carcase condition.
Mr Kupsch said producers were feeling buoyant with good prices for both cattle and sheep.
“There is a lot of confidence in both industries,” he said. “Cattle have come off record highs but they are still at very good, sustainable levels.
“The people who have been successful with their cattle are those who have focused on their breeding programs to target these markets when the good prices come along.
“That is what underpins the commercial competition. It’s about having a successful breeding herd that can still make money in tough times and really kill the pig in good times.”
While cropping was still the dominant agriculture business in the Mid West, Mr Kupsch said livestock was gaining traction.
“Cropping is the dominant agriculture business in the area, but there is a good mix of both feed lotters and pastoral cattle from the north,” he said. “In the Badgingarra and Mingenew areas, cattle have got a good foothold.”
Entries are still open for both competitions, but stock must hail from farms within the Mid West region. To enter, email email@example.com or call 9928 1138.