The 2023 National Junior Angus Show carcass steer contest teaches youth feeding to finish.
The demand for carcass merit drives the beef industry. In recent years, the push for quality has increased. National Junior Angus Association (NJAA) members rose to the challenge of providing both during this year’s National Junior Angus Show (NJAS) carcass contest.
The carcass contest allows for a shift in perspective at the NJAS. Instead of leading the animal into the show ring, they lead steers onto a truck to be harvested. In the days following, the steers are evaluated, graded and their carcass data is reported.
“My experience with this contest has been very good,” said 14-year-old Corbin Russell of Paxico, Kansas. “I’ve learned to feed and manage cattle better, and I’ve had the opportunity to meet very nice people that run this event.”
Twenty-seven entries from eight states competed in the 2023 carcass contest in Grand Island, Nebraska. The top-ranking steers were announced at the NJAS awards ceremony on July 7.
“This contest gives youth exhibitors a look at the final product and outcome of their toils and their breeding in many cases,” said Paul Dykstra, director of supply management and analysis for the Certified Angus Beef® (CAB) brand. “They understand more about the drivers of quality, final premiums and discounts. They also see how the production side results in a carcass cutout value that differs based on the quality and attributes of one’s cattle.”
Owen Austrino of Dade City, Florida exhibited the grand champion carcass steer. His steer graded prime with a yield grade of 2.6 and hit the 10 specifications to qualify for the CAB brand. The steer had a 12.8 square inch (sq. in.) ribeye area and a hot carcass weight of 791 pounds (lb.). Austrino received a $40.00 per hundred weight (cwt.) grid premium, $1.00 per cwt. higher than the 2022 champion.
Brazos Worrell of Harper, Texas took home honors for reserve champion carcass steer. His steer graded choice with a yield grade of 3.3. The steer had a 12.3 sq. in. ribeye area and an 869 lb. hot carcass weight. Worrell’s steer qualified for the CAB brand, and he was awarded a $25.00 cwt. grid premium.
The champion bred and owned carcass steer was exhibited by Alexis Vandeberghe of Cleveland, North Dakota. Her steer graded choice with a yield grade of 3.6. The steer had a 10.4 sq. in. ribeye area, a 768 lb. hot carcass weight, and earned the CAB brand designation. Vandeberghe received a $23.00 cwt. grid premium.
Kye Lehenbauer of Palmyra, Missouri presented the reserve champion bred and owned carcass steer. His steer graded select with a yield grade of 3.4. The steer exhibited a 10.7 sq. in. ribeye area with a 791 lb. hot carcass weight.
NJAA members also competed in the contest through state groups of carcasses. Three steers grouped together by at least two exhibitors constituted a state group.
As a state group, the Kansas 3 team won averaging a $179.65 carcass premium per head. Team members included Corbin Russell and Kirwin Russell of Paxino, Kansas.
The reserve state group was also from Kansas. The Kansas 4 team averaged $163.10 carcass premium per head. Team members included Carsen Rinkes and Conner Rinkes of Holton, Kansas.
The top steer exhibitors were awarded contest premiums beyond their carcass premiums. Contestants also received carcass data in return to make improvements in their selection decisions, creating teachable moments for the membership and fostering the future of the beef industry.
Cash awards presented to exhibitors placing 1st-50th were made possible by the Briarwood Angus Farms/Curtis and Ann Long NJAS Carcass Contest Endowment Fund. Dr. Curtis Long and his late wife, Ann Long, placed significance on the value of pertinent carcass information. Their endowment fund will permanently support the NJAS Carcass Contest.
Exhibitors who presented carcasses that met CAB standards received an additional 25 percent in premiums. It was the Longs’ hope that due to this permanent endowment; Angus youth would develop a better understanding of the economic benefits derived from producing outstanding beef carcasses.
Results of the 2023 NJAS, including shows, contests, awards and scholarships can be found at www.njas.info. Additional coverage is also available on the NJAA social media channels.