What to look for in your next bull – a clas­si­fier shares tips

A clas­si­fier’s top tips for pick­ing good cat­tle

Warwick Daily News - South West Queensland Rural Weekly - - Front Page - GEORDI OFFORD Geordi.offord@ru­ral­weekly.com.au

WITH a lit­tle help, any­one can train their eye to be an ex­pert in judg­ing cat­tle.

That’s the opin­ion of Rus­sell Gray, who has been clas­si­fy­ing stud cat­tle with Santa Gertrudis Aus­tralia for more than 30 years.

“Peo­ple need to un­der­stand how their cat­tle walk and re­pro­duce, and tech­nol­ogy can’t do it all,” he said.

“Peo­ple can train their eyes – the ba­sics are the same for ev­ery breed.”

Re­cently, Mr Gray made the trek to Beef Aus­tralia in Rock­hamp­ton from Linville near Bris­bane to talk about what makes a good bull.

“Con­sti­tu­tion, con­fir­ma­tion and car­case are the three big­gest things to look for,” he said.

Mr Gray said a great bull would have all three, an av­er­age bull had two and a not so good bull just one.

“Con­sti­tu­tion is all about the bull’s do­ing abil­ity – a good do­ing abil­ity is a must,” he said.

“Con­fir­ma­tion is all about the an­i­mal hav­ing a good leg struc­ture and body shape and leg struc­ture.

“Peo­ple should be able to breed the same size and shape of an­i­mal, it’s all about try­ing to get peo­ple to look for the same things.”

He said there were cer­tain qual­i­ties pro­duc­ers should be look­ing for across their bulls and heifers.

“High pin bones in heifers is not good,” he said. “This can make them have trou­ble calv­ing be­cause the calf can’t just drop out like it nor­mally would.

“High pin bones make the tail look like it’s been stuck into their back in­stead of fol­low­ing it and go­ing down.”

Mr Gray’s sharp eye clas­si­fies about 10,000 santa gertrudis cat­tle in Aus­tralia and New Zealand ev­ery year.

“This is so we can make sure the stan­dard across Aus­tralia is the same for ev­ery­one and make sure the con­di­tion matches the en­vi­ron­ment they live in,” he said.

“It’s very re­ward­ing to be able to meet new peo­ple ev­ery year, and stud own­ers like hav­ing time with the clas­si­fier.

“I had a boy who came to watch me (at Beef Aus­tralia). He came back the next day and said he won sec­ond in his cat­tle com­pe­ti­tion af­ter watch­ing.”


LOOK SHARP: Rus­sell Gray has a sharp eye for clas­si­fy­ing cat­tle, per­form­ing the role in Aus­tralia and New Zealand.


Cat­tle clas­si­fier Rus­sell Gray.

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