Melville Park Wins Heifer Challenge

The Royal Agricultural Society of Victoria (RASV) named Melville Park Herefords, Vasey, Victoria, as the RASV Heifer Challenge Champion for 2020 at a prestigious celebration at Melbourne Showgrounds, following eight days of on-farm judging during Stock & Land Beef Week.

The Vasey located property, led by David Lyons was selected from the 32 entered properties to be awarded the honour and a $3,000 cash prize.

David, who has been involved in the Heifer Challenge for all nine years, was joined by his wife Olwyn and family on the night and was ecstatic with the win.

"I congratulate all of the other finalists and entrants in the 2020 Heifer Challenge. I've been in the Heifer Challenge right from the beginning and this year it is absolutely marvellous to have been selected as Champion."

I thank the RASV for working with the Stock & Land Beef Week team to undertake this large task and the judge Rick Smith who had the hard job of selecting the finalists from what I am sure was a wonderful 32 pens" said Mr Lyons.

This year, the competition was judged by experienced cattleman Rick Smith, who has managed multiple cattle properties and worked in the Justice Department as General Manager of Industry.

Rick and the team from the RASV travelled more than 5000km to judge studs across Victoria and into New South Wales from Wednesday 29 January - Wednesday 5 February 2020.

Mr Smith, speaking at the Heifer Challenge Presentation Dinner at Melbourne Showgrounds was thrilled to be involved in the program.

"I would like to acknowledge The Royal Agricultural Society of Victoria and the team behind Stock & Land Beef Week for organising an informative competition that gives stud beef producers an opportunity to benchmark their breeding and marketing on their home ground" said Mr Smith.

Sharing some insights into his breeding and judging philosophy, Mr Smith considered the female lines to be the key to the success of the herd.

"I consider the heifer program to be the foundation of the herd and the business. Get the cows right and the rest will follow."

Temperament and structural soundness were the key to my assessment, and I was critical with those traits throughout my assessment"

It was, however, the resilience of the rural communities that had been through varying conditions over the past 12 months that received the most praise from Rick.

"The cattle community is tough, and they all fronted up and did a magnificent job. I have nothing but admiration for the competitors and it was a privilege to witness the generational passion, pride and commitment to the cattle industry that was on show over the eight days."

"Congratulations to all associated with the RASV Heifer Challenge" concluded Mr Smith.

2020 Reserve Champion, including a $1500 cash prize was awarded to previous winners Ravensdale Hereford, Holbrook NSW with owner Brian Burgess on hand to accept the award.

Other finalists announced on the night included Glendan Park Herefords, Rangan Charolais, Riga Angus, Langi Ka Kal Angus, Boonaroo Angus, Caskieben Shorthorn, Wormbete Simmental and Murdeduke Angus.

Facilitated by Stud Beef Victoria, Stock & Land Beef Week provides beef producers with a unique opportunity to market, showcase and select genetics for breeding operations.

As one of the many programs the RASV conducts throughout the year to highlight quality production in agrifood and fibre, the Heifer Challenge recognises excellence in herd replacement females in seed stock operation throughout Victoria and into NSW.