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Highland Cattle — NO JOKE

Information Source: Australian Highland Cattle Society Newsletter

Brisbane Royal Show 1992

A Scottish Highland steer bred by Norma and Peter Knox of Gloucester River and prepared by 15 year old Robyn Edwards had the distinction of being the first animal of the breed ever exhibited at the Brisbane Royal Show.

This shaggy pet attracted much attention on the ground for its quiet nature and long, hairy coat. However, beyond that, all experts in the appraisal and preparation of carcass steers considered him a bit of a joke when compared to the highly muscled steers of other breeds and carcasses prepared for competition by some of the most noted steer preparers in the land.

"Pussy Cat" as named by Robyn, was relegated to the back row in the largest class of 36 steers in live judging and even there was the taunting joke of the owners of the few steers that stood below him.

The only real recognition he was given was the numerous patting hands of children as he sprawled on the show ring turf, panting in the hot Queensland sun between classes, and the shutter of the 'Courier Mail' that featured him on their front cover the following day.

THREE DAYS LATER .... At the Abattoirs.

The Highland carcass was the center of attention, scoring a highly creditable 88 points on the hook. He was only beaten by a handful of highly-muscled Limousin, Charolais and Romagnola cross steers in his class, and scored in the top 10% of the 150 carcasses on exhibition

The stud cattle breeding industry in general was stunned that such a high quality carcass was hidden under that mass of hair. His carcass traits became the talking point of the cattle pavilion.

Highland Cattle proving once again ...


Specifications for Ideal Carcasses for Hotel and Restaurant Trade.

Item Measured Ideal Measurement Maximum Score Highland Measurement Highland Points
Live Weight     435kg  
Dressing %     56.0%  
P8 Fat Depth 8-10mm 10 10mm 10
Rib Fat Depth 5-8mm 10 5mm 10
Fat Colour 0-1 15 0 15
Meat Colour 1 20 1 20
Marbling 1-2 10 3 8
Est. Lean Meat Yield >65% 10 63.33% 8
Eye Muscle Area Aus Meat Scale 25 80sq. cm 22
Fat Texture Penalty   0   0
Fat Distribution Penalty   0   -5*
Meat Texture Penalty 3 0 3 0
TOTAL   100   88

* The Highlander scored maximum points in most sections of the carcass evaluation but lost 5 points for uneven fat distribution out of a maximum 10 penalty points. This was probably caused by trying to hold him at peak condition for 4 months on the type of feed required. He also lost 2 points for excess marbling. Had he been judged in the Japanese Chiller Trade Section this would have been a plus.

The top carcass in the show scored 93 points.

The Highland steer with a score of 88 points was placed 9th equal out of 150 carcasses on exhibition.