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Supporting Australia's Shorthorns

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article image The Beef Shorthorn Society of Australia

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The Beef Shorthorn has a history tracing back nearly 300 years. The breed has played a dominant role in the development of the beef industry in Australia from the early days of settlement.

The origins of the breed can be traced to the Tees River Valley in northern England, where the Teeswater breed evolved from a cross with a Dutch dairy type. Teeswaters were big framed, heavy horned and attained great weight at five to six years. They were highly valued as beef cattle.

The Beef Shorthorn Society of Australia (VIC) ensures that the breed maintains its role in the development of the beef industry. 

The Royal Melbourne Show saw a strong exhibition in both Beef and Australian Shorthorn classes in 2010 and Beef Shorthorns were also represented at the Adelaide Royal in the same year. The Society was well represented and already some are lining up for 3 years time when the World Conference will be in New Zealand.

Federal Council has been working towards ensuring that Beef Shorthorns' identity and wellbeing is in tact. Protocols have been strengthened around the health status of imported genetics.  This is so important these days and this process is well assisted by the accurate and available testing mediums offered by several high profile Animal Health organisations. 

In 2010, the Society's Federal President, David Spencer, stated that a motion has been passed to write to all mainland Royal Show societies and Beef Expo's at Dubbo, Bendigo and Hamilton requesting that classes not be made available to show our Beef Shorthorn and Australian Shorthorn breeds in the same ordinary class together, unless of course under interbreed conditions.  

Tthese two breeds have separate herd books within the Society, and their genetics in the main are very different.

Carefully selecting commercial-grade beef shorthorns
According to the Society, there are a few factors breeders should consider when selecting the type of Beef Shorthorn cattle:

  • colour is red, white or roan
  • head of the bull is strong and masculine with well hooded docile eye; strong muzzle; horns to be slightly oval-shaped and waxy in texture
  • cow has finer horn and has a matronly eye
  • clean throat without much development of loose flesh underneath
  • well laid in shoulders
  • wide, trim chest
  • well-sprung ribs, evenly fleshed and moderately deep
  • broad back, straight and lengthy, well covered with firm fleshing
  • legs are strong boned and squarely places
The general appearance of the bull is masculine and balanced. The female is well balanced. Correct walking ability is essential for both bulls and females.

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