Kuttabul farmer Anthony Noonan is the president of the beef and cattle committee at this year's Mackay show.
Kuttabul farmer Anthony Noonan is the president of the beef and cattle committee at this year's Mackay show. Zizi Averill

'Friendly rivalries' at play in cattle pens at Mackay Show

BEFORE the rides started spinning or the food stalls opened, farmers and their cattle herded into the Mackay Showgrounds for the start of the annual agricultural competition.

As the beef and cattle judging began this morning, the silence of the empty showground was broken by the loud moos of the cows in their pens.

Despite a tough season for many farmers, beef and cattle committee president Anthony Noonan said the quality of cattle was impressive.

The Kuttabul farmer said the poor season had left some regions with a handicap when competing for the top agricultural prizes at this year's show.

"Some districts had a lot of feed but had to cart in water. Others had the opposite, no feed but plenty of water," Mr Noonan said.

Kuttabul farmer Anthony Noonan is the president of the beef and cattle committee at this year's Mackay show.
Kuttabul farmer Anthony Noonan is the president of the beef and cattle committee at this year's Mackay show. Zizi Averill

 

Even in the early hours of the judging, Mr Noonan said there was a visible difference between the cattle from places affected by poor growing conditions.

"You can see it in their size and their temperament," he said.

He said coastal farmers around Mackay were going into the competition with a clear advantage after "one of the best seasons in years".

"Anyone who has the feed and water security had got that upper hand at the show," Mr Noonan said.

Landmark Mackay agent Paul Cooper has spent the past four weeks working with farmers to select which members of their herd were show quality.

He agreed there had been some "pretty ordinary weather conditions over the range".

He said after such a rough growing season, the show was a welcome opportunity for the growing community to come together at the family event.

For Ted Murphy, of Tayglen pastoral, near Dysart, the annual show was a much loved time within the small cattle community.

Ted Murphy of Tayglen pastoral, near Dysart, entered 44 head of cattle at this year's Mackay Show. He has been entering cattle into the Mackay Show since 1996.
Ted Murphy of Tayglen pastoral, near Dysart, entered 44 head of cattle at this year's Mackay Show. He has been entering cattle into the Mackay Show since 1996. Zizi Averill

While there were "friendly rivalries" at the show he said it was an inclusive and open competition, saying "everyone has a go".

After 23 years of entering cattle into the Mackay Show, he said his love of the cattle shows were a "disease that grows on you".

It was Moranbah resident Nic Fordyce seventh year at the show, and and his herd of 29 cattle and 10 carcasses had already received three blue ribbons.

He said the prize-winning cattle were the product of "a bit of luck, good genetics and a decent season".

 

Moranbah resident Nic Fordyce, won three blue ribbons in the morning cattle judging rounds. He is one of four generations of Fordyces at the showgrounds.
Moranbah resident Nic Fordyce, won three blue ribbons in the morning cattle judging rounds. He is one of four generations of Fordyces at the showgrounds. Zizi Averill

For the first time, the public was not able to attend the early cattle judging sessions due to a delayed gate opening times.

Mr Fordyce said he noticed the crowds were smaller, but added "all the cattle people are still here".

Mr Noonan agreed the atmosphere of the cattle show was "a little different".

Without the show crowds, he said some people might be disappointed.

He said once the show formally opened "anyone is welcome to witness. For us it's business as usual".

Mt Jukes resident Ross Dodt encouraged more show visitors to pop by the show's cattle yards, saying it was a great opportunity to meet people

"Everyone and anyone here has a story to tell," he said.