There are three kinds of cattle competition at our county fair: steers, commercial heifers and the beef heifer division.
Commercial heifers are a pen of two heifers from quality commercial breeds and cross breeds.
Melvin Linton, Jr. and his wife Sandy are the proud parents of Trey and Hunter Linton. While Trey has already graduated, his younger brother Hunter is still very involved in the commercial heifer show.
Hunter attends Diboll High School and is in the 10th grade. He has been showing commercial heifers for 8 years and has showed 3 pens of grand champions and 2 pens of reserve champions.
Hunter purchased his heifers last September when they were approximately 9 months old. He bought Brangus heifers that weighed approximately 600-650 pounds when they were brought home.
They were immediately treated for intestinal parasites and vaccinated against the common diseases.
His parents say one just needs a catch trap or large pen to raise them in and a feed trough. It is definitely a family affair with everyone pitching in to feed and make sure they are staying healthy.
Exhibitors usually select their heifers each fall. These heifers will be ear-tagged for proof of ownership on the 3rd Saturday in October. Each heifer must be between 12 and 15 months of age and open (not bred) at the time of the show. They have to be reasonably gentle (not halter broken) and should be ready to breed in the spring.
Hunter feeds them Producers feedlot feed daily and supplements their feed with hay that is grown on the family farm. In addition, he has to maintain a record book that tracks all of his expenses from feed, medications, travel expenses as well as pasture costs.
The commercial heifer division is sponsored by Lufkin Creosoting.
Unique to this competition there is a 100 point scoring system that is as follows: up to 70 points to the heifers, up to 15 points towards a record book; and up to 15 points from an interview with the judge.
All expenses related to the commercial heifers are to be shown on an expense sheet. These expenses are to include the initial cost of the heifers, feed, hay, vet costs, pasture rent/ or pen rent, winter pasture, concentrates, minerals and salts. Exhibitors calculate an expense for hauling each time they haul their heifers.
Lastly, a labor cost should be calculated for the total time spent on the project and tallied for each month.
During the interview, judges’ questions can cover a number of topics such as their heifers’ breeding, the total cost of the project, weight gained, and cost per pound of gain.
The heifers themselves are evaluated on a number of factors. First the pair of heifers should be uniform in appearance with proper body condition. Their muscularity needs to be adequate and potential to reproduce obvious. Judges will next look for breed types that are adaptable to our climate and environmental conditions. Finally their structural (skeletal) soundness is evaluated.
Hunter Linton will have his heifers and record book judged along with his interview on Friday, February 26 at the Angelina County Fair presented by Brookshire Brothers.
Cary Sims is the County Extension Agent for agriculture and natural resources for Angelina County. His email address is email@example.com.