Murdoch student gets meat judging taster in US

February 16, 2016

Reuben WelkeA Murdoch University student was part of an elite Australian meat judging team which won two lamb judging competitions during a recent tour of the United States.

Fourth year veterinary science student Reuben Welke also did well individually, winning the beef judging, coming second in total questions and placing third in individual lamb judging at the National Western competition in Denver, Colorado.

The team of five, selected from a field of more than 120 students at the Australian competition held in July last year, won the lamb judging at the Southwest Invitational in Lubbock, Texas, and at the National Western too.

They were also placed in the top three in some beef and pork categories and came third overall in both competitions.

“Getting involved in meat judging at Murdoch has given me an invaluable understanding of what producers are paid for and what consumers want from their meat,” explained Reuben. “It also helps me to understand how farmers can produce more valuable animals to meet consumer demands and maximize their profits.

“Winning the place on meat judging team has been fantastic. The competitions were a great experience, but we were also welcomed in by many great people from all aspects of the US agricultural industry, including those from the meat science, primary production and processing sectors.

“A standout from the trip was touring West Texas A&M University where they have been cloning cattle, and seeing calves that are the progeny of two parents cloned from five day old dead carcase tissue samples.

“We also learned that the US continues to look abroad to meet their demands for beef meaning that opportunities in Australian agriculture are endless.”

Australian coach Demi Lollback said the team was one of the most dedicated to success she had seen. “I was extremely proud of the team this year,” she said. “They trained so hard from the minute we got off the plane. Some days they would be training in chillers for up to eight hours.”

The main aim of the four week tour, which is organised by the Australian Intercollegiate Meat Judging Association, is to provide a unique insight into the US meat and livestock industry. Reuben and his teammates covered nearly 10,000km across seven states to achieve this.

They toured the meat science faculties of eight major universities, visited beef, lamb and pork processing facilities, numerous ranches, feedlots, steakhouses and retailers, as well as the Meat Animal Research Centre in Clay Center in Nebraska.

Reuben and the Australian team will be guests at the 2016 Australian Intercollegiate Meat Judging program to be held in Wagga Wagga in July, inspiring the next intake of meat judging enthusiasts. Meat & Livestock Australia and Australian Meat Processors Corporation continue to be the major sponsors of the Australian team.

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