A STOUSH over combining Hereford and Poll Hereford classes in shows is coming to a head.The issue was hotly debated at the royal shows at Sydney and Melbourne this year, with Melbourne the first to judge the horned and poll cattle together.
Herefords Australia Limited says it is merely trying to keep the numbers of cattle above 40 entries, so one of the nation's biggest breeds is not considered in the same league as minor breeds.
But Weekly Times Now understands the issue is continuing to be talked about at HAL board level, and that a vote was taken within the past week to continue its support of combined judging.
Tondara Herefords at Urana takes Herefords to all the major royal shows along the eastern seaboard.
Tondara principal Sophie Holt said the HAL board was wasting time and resources working on this issue.
Mrs Holt, who with husband Tom runs a 500-cow stud herd in southern NSW, said the board would be better dealing with other issues :like why my (Hereford) steers get a discount''.
She would like the poll and horned Herefords to contine to be judged separately and believes the continual discussion of the issue is wasting board time.
"I would like to think that the valuable time of the board would be better suited working on education and promotion of the breed to meat processors and buyers,'' she said.
"Perhaps you could then tell me why I pay membership fees to the HAL board so they can argue the benefits of combined showing, while I continue to get paid 5-10c/kg less in the southern markets for my Hereford steers compared to my Angus-cross steers sold on the same day.''
HAL chief executive John McKew said chairman Steve Reid and the board understood its priorities.
Mr McKew said there were important issues for the breed "above and beyond this particular issue (of showing)''.
"The board is not driving combined judging, but is, as it is required and expected to do so, responding to show societies who seek confirmation or clarification on policy,'' Mr McKew said.
"The board is well aware of (issues beyond this) and has a range of commercially focused initiatives under development."
HAL has come under pressure this year, with moves by some breeders to set up an alternative breed society.
The board also came under fire after two directors resigned shortly after they were elected, and were replaced by board-appointed choices rather than those who had stood but did not receive as many votes as the elected candidates.