WESTERN Australia's only beef supply chain competition is setting the benchmark for world-class beef by showcasing the State's best producers and providing opportunities to improve animal welfare standards and boost sustainability, all of which leads to high-quality beef for consumers.
More than 40 teams are participating in the annual Harvey Beef Gate2Plate Challenge, which assesses cattle as they move through the beef supply chain and culminates in a gala dinner to be held in Albany this Friday, June 10, that brings everyone involved, from breeders to commercial specialists, under the one roof and awards the winner a $5000 cash prize.
The challenge, now in its eighth year, is organised by volunteers involved in the WA beef industry and is sponsored by Harvey Beef, part of the Harvest Road Group.
Harvest Road chief executive officer Paul Slaughter said the challenge was a key investment in the ongoing development of the WA agri-business industry and helped drive up standards for delivering world-class beef.
"Since its inception, Harvest Road has continued to support the Harvey Beef Gate2Plate Challenge to showcase how important the work all stakeholders in the industry are doing to improve our standards," Mr Slaughter said.
"This has led to the evolution of the beef supply chain in WA, which is helping producers become market leaders across animal welfare standards, and I'm incredibly proud of the work all producers are doing to achieve this.
"The challenge helps focus minds and efforts in a way that benefits the WA beef industry as a whole and ensures what consumers buy in the supermarket is delicious and produced in a sustainable and ethical way."
Harvey Beef Gate2Plate president Jarrod Carroll said the event played an important role in allowing producers to connect and collaborate to improve standards across the industry, as well as providing opportunities to prepare future leaders coming through agriculture studies.
"Throughout the challenge period, breeders receive data on the progress of their cattle, which they can use to help with future breeding decisions," Mr Carroll said.
"We have seen that over time such knowledge gained by participants has allowed our region to fundamentally improve the way we operate through cattle selection, welfare and land sustainability.
"We have seen that farmers now have a stronger understanding of how to improve the quality of their cattle, as well as ways to maximise the use of their land and reduce environmental impact."
Mr Carroll said the separate Schools Challenge, an interschool competition for year 11-12 students run alongside Gate2Plate, was helping to advance agri-business careers and opportunities for younger people and students within regional areas.
The event is open to all WA beef producers and each entry consists of a team of three owner-bred animals - two steers and a heifer - which are assessed on objective traits required for commercial beef production.
All competition cattle undergo a grainfed finishing period of 75-90 days at Willyung Farms, in the Great Southern region, which commenced in January this year.
All the cattle are processed at Harvey Beef on the same day and the carcases graded for meat quality using the Meat Standards Australia (MSA) grading system.
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