West Moreton Anglican College agriculture student Claire Leather gets a sloppy kiss from inquisitive Charolais calf Gypsy.
West Moreton Anglican College agriculture student Claire Leather gets a sloppy kiss from inquisitive Charolais calf Gypsy. Claudia Baxter

College welcomes new calf

LITTLE Gypsy won’t always be so cute, but she will benefit the education of hundreds of West Moreton Anglican College (WMAC) students for years to come.

The Charolais calf – the first to be born at the school’s farm this year – arrived a month ago and, to the delight of staff and students, was born a female.

WMAC has a proud history of showing its cattle at the Ekka and local shows across the region, an activity which brings with it great responsibility but also great benefits to students interested in agricultural studies.

Students spend long hours preparing cattle just like Gypsy for showing by not only training them but also washing and grooming them before the big day.

WMAC farm manager Jason Beattie said Gypsy was likely to stay at the school farm for about 10 years, during which time she would be involved in the education of scores of students who join the cattle show team.

“The students break the cattle in when they arrive at the farm, they learn how to lead them and they learn all the cuts of meat,” Mr Beattie said.

Gypsy will be exhibited, along with her mother, as a cow-and-calf combination on this year’s local show circuit. At the age of six months she will be eligible for the junior heifer category.

Year 12 student Emily Duncanson said students were glad to have welcomed a female calf because she would be able to stay around longer and produce calves for the school.

“Being part of the cattle show team takes up a lot of afternoon and weekend time, but it’s okay because we all have a particular interest in it,” she said.

“If you want to live or work on a property you need to know how to select good cattle; which steer is going to have the best meat cuts. We learn to look at muscle patterns, fat coverage and how big certain parts of the body should be, like the width between the shoulders.”

The school only deals in Charolais cattle and has done for several years now. Mr Beattie said the breed tended to fatten up quicker and were easy to sell.

“With this facility the kids here have a huge advantage on a lot of other schools around Ipswich, and they get such a great work ethic out of it,” he said.

The numbers speak for themselves; in the past four years the cattle show team has grown from 16 members to 76.



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