What to look for in your next bull – a classifier shares tips
A classifier’s top tips for picking good cattle
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.