Few decisions captured as much comment as the selection of a supreme cattle champion but for 2009 title takers Phil and Sharon Sellers their English Winter Fair champion Fantasia has impressed beyond the show ring having been prepared for sale by Derby-based catering butcher Richard Taylor.
The Sellers of Kilburn, Derby – who run a catering business as well as running a small but highly successful cattle show team – were invited to Elliott’s abattoir, Calow, near Chesterfield, to see the heifer hanging on a hook having been prepared for sale.
“She’s killed out a lot better than I thought; I expected her to be fatter,” said Mr Sellers having seen Fantasia’s carcase. “She was nick-named Gloucester Old Spot by some competitors at the English Winter Fair as they thought she was fat; but even when live she had no brisket to speak of and has proved to be lean,” commented Mr Sellers.
Weighing 605kg live the Charolais-sired Limousin cross heifer weighed 405.3kg on the hook – a killing out of 67% – and classified E4L. “It goes to show that the judge Mr Rattray knew what he was looking at in the ring.”
For purchaser Richard Taylor that meant the £3500 auction price equated to £8.64/kg deadweight. Compared to non-show cattle it was a high price but for beef to promote the business to discerning catering customers it was money well spent, he suggested.
“As a beast for our shop she’s almost perfect. There’s very little cover apart from where it’s needed. The texture and colour of the meat is good and there’s some marbling through the rib (eye muscle),” commented Mr Taylor.
Seeing Fantasia on the hook has reinforced beef industry body EBLEX’s message that producers can learn a great deal seeing how live cattle compare to carcases as a means of improving the quality of finished cattle. “It’s given us a better idea of what we’re producing as an end product compared to when walking around,” said Mr Sellers.