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Farm to Table students prepare for showtime!

It’s Showtime!

For the past three months Year 9 Farm to Table students have been busy preparing their steer ‘Kenneth’, for the Melbourne Show and now it’s Showtime!

Winnie Jones and Mal Douglass of Mt Bellevue, near Myhree first contacted the school in May to set up an association with Rutherlgen High School. From here the ‘ball started rolling’. Winnie and Mal offered to donate a steer for the students to prepare and take to the Melbourne show, so off the students went to their property to catch their first glimpse of ‘Kenneth’ and get started with handling basics. Although some students (and a certain bus driver) were more interested in the excellent BBQ that was provided, the majority of students got in and had a go!

The properties cattle handler, Mark Woodstock, then delivered our steer to his new home at Sheridan’s Bridge Road, where he was inundated with brushes and attention.

Rutherglen High School in Vic

Over the past three months students have had several ‘jobs’ to do to prepare ‘Kenneth’ for the big stage. They had to feed the steer specific types and amounts of feed so that he could gain the desired amount of weight. Students worked on an average of 1.5% of the animals total body weight to feed him in pellets, which had to be high in protein, each day to achieve the weight gain. We were lucky enough to have this feed donated by QAF, so thank you to them and John Grantham for organising that donation. This feeding also continued on weekends and again it was the students who were committed to come in every weekend to ensure his weight gain could continue.

Students have also had to handle the steer two to three times per week to improve both their techniques and confidence with the animal. Mark Woodstock returned to the school on several occasions to teach the students the correct techniques of leading and showing. Mark has been showing cattle at the Melbourne Show for close to 20 years, so there has been no one better to pass on their knowledge to the students, thanks Mark!

On Tuesday the 16th of September Mark returned again to give Kenneth a quick hair cut and he gave the final words ‘I declare him ready for the show!’ Students were presented with their ‘Welsh Black’ shirts and caps, which were organised by Winnie and Mal, to wear to the show and be part of the team.

Eleven Year 9 students are involved in the show: Anneleise Sims, Amy Cracknell, Sam Bowers, Allyra Vyner, Hannah Seymour, Angel Hibberson, Cody Hildreth, Paddy Rowland, Kyle Cofield, Alex Buckingham and Allana Williams. Other students have also been involved in the preparation of the steer for the show but are unable to attend, so thanks to them.

These eleven students will travel to Melbourne on Sunday the 21st of September to prepare for the School’s Competition which will be held on Monday, followed by the Carcase Competition on Tuesday. The students will then help Winnie and Mal to prepare their animals for various competitions throughout the week. A huge thanks to parents, Paulene Sims and Jenny Buckingham, who have volunteered their time and will travel with the students on the train and stay at the show. Also to staff: Phil Rogers, Ron Webb and Peter Jakober, who will also spend time with the students.

Although Kenneth’s trip to Melbourne is a ‘one way’ ticket (as he is entered in the Carcase Competition) there will be a ‘substitute’ in the near future. Mt Bellevue’s association with Rutherglen High School is set to continue with Winnie and Mal donating a heifer/cow with a calf, at the conclusion of the show. Students will then have the opportunity to breed with this animal in the future and continuing showing if they wish.

This association between Rutherglen High School’s Agriculture Program and Mt Bellevue, is an excellent opportunity for students both in this years ‘Farm To Table’ and in future years, to be involved in. So a huge thanks to Winnie and Mal, parents and most importantly the students for making this event happen, both now and in the future!

Sarah Rae
Agriculture Co-ordinator
Teacher at Rutherglen High School

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