A South West agricultural college, that enrols 168 students across years 10, 11 and 12 and who all have a hand in beef cattle education, was announced the overall winner of the Harvey Beef Gate 2 Plate Challenge last Friday in Albany. WA College of Agriculture — Harvey assistant farm manager Ian Millichamp said the award validated the college’s direction and encourages more youth to enter the industry. “The purpose of our terminal commercial herd is to value add the school’s cows that have the lowest fertility and poorer phenotype by using European bloodlines utilising primarily Limousin, Charolais and Simmental semen sires to capture growth through hybrid vigour,” he said. “We have also been using Speckle Park semen sires as a trial because of the breed’s popularity.” The college entered two teams of two steers and one heifer in the Challenge with one team crossed between a Charolais semen sire and Angus cows while the other team was bred from a Limousin sire’s semen artificially inseminated into Angus cows. The former team, sired by New Zealand Charolais semen sire LT Vista, that was catalogued on the GeneticChoice online site with a description of being very complete with sound structure and super docile nature. Mr Millichamp said LT Vista was selected for the sires’ daily live weight gains and carcase quality. One of the steer components in the college’s winning team ranked second over all the other 161 cattle with an individual score of 88.549 points. This steer ranked second in the feedlot performance sector with a net proceeds value of $2878 and third in the Meat Standards Australia grading on 20.3 points. The college’s winning Angus cross Charolais team scored 234.675 points overall and also was the team with the best feedlot performance. The second place team in overall standings was entered by Mountain Valley Livestock principals Wayne and Evonne Mitchell, of Narrikup. Their team of Charolais, Shorthorn and Angus cross over Angus and Angus cross Droughtmaster scored 232.468 overall points and were awarded second place in the best feedlot performance sector. The Mitchell’s second team of Charolais cross Shorthorn cross Angus placed fifth overall in the standings. Mr Mitchell said he used previous data from past year’s to give the two teams of three cattle a good shot at performance. “It is very difficult to get all three in a team to perform to a high standard,” he said. Harvest Road chief agriculture officer Ben Dwyer said cow calf producers were challenged to combine good genetics with nutrition to produce top eating quality carcases.