Warwick school comes out with top carcass at Ekka
SCOTS PGC College has scored a big win at this year's Ekka, claiming the junior led heifer carcass champion title.
Agricultural teacher Peter Collett said while the school always did well at the Royal Queensland Show, this year's win was testament to the dedication of his students.
"We normally do quite well and come away with a few ribbons, but it's nice to get recognition of the kids' hard work breaking in and preparing the cattle and seeing that work pay off,” Mr Collett said.
In a year when Tenterfield High School claimed the grand champion of the led steer carcass title, Mr Collett said the effort all the schools that entered went to, including Scots, demonstrated hope for the future for agriculture.
"They (the schools) really gave it to open entrants and stepped up a notch,” Mr Collett said.
"They cleaned up.
"It's hard as a teacher who doesn't have farm help, and a family, but from the kids' point of view, it's well worth it.”
As for what put Scots over the line, Mr Collett said the school was focused on teaching students how to ensure a quality product, from start to finish.
"On the weekend, we had a paddock-to-plate meal where we took students and parents to the abattoir and a feedlot and then had a parent, who was a mobile butcher, show them the cuts of meat,” he said.
"We need to know exactly how much fat is over the carcass.
"It's important to get a grasp on guaranteeing that quality consumers are after and getting students to assess those markers.”
Mr Collett said events like the Ekka were the perfect opportunity to teach those lessons to young adults with a passion for the sector.
"I'm really excited to see them come through and know they're the future,” Mr Collett said.
"They're like sponges, they absorb as much information as they can and are really clued in.”
But with long hours and plenty of teamwork, Mr Collett added that students learnt both the bad and good of being a producer.
"It's not just cattle skills, it's life skills,” he said.
"They were up from 8am-10pm so they're long days.
"They have to be a part of a small team and pull together, even if they're tired and over it.”
Mr Collett said the show also gave students a way to broaden their network.
"Whilst we're really strong in the Southern Downs for our quality, it's good to see those coming from Dubbo and down from up north,” Mr Collett said.
"They're all doing it a bit tough but it's a good outlet for those producers.”
Other Ekka wins for the school included second place in the led steer carcass 491-540kg, a third place in led steer on hoof, plus individual student wins.