An earlier opening of entries for a feature pasture-to-plate contest ending the Royal Show in Hastings is expected to beef-up interest in the event which was held for the first time last year.
Entries in New Zealand Royal Show and Affco Best of the Bay Beef Competition opened on July 1, with stock being judged firstly on-the-hoof and after slaughter in September.
Product from the top 10 will then be going to the taste-test on at the show on October 19, cooked by a celebrity chef before being put to a panel of three judges.
The competition is open to all beef producers from Wairoa to Pahiatua, irrespective of supply relationships, heifers or steers needing to be within the carcass weight-range of 229-345kg.
Affco eastern region livestock manager Wayne File said the decision to stage the event last year was later than would have suited many potential entrants, so he hopes the earlier kick-off will add to the interest in the competition.
He said the event was otherwise well received last year and the last stage was a popular attraction at the showgrounds, where the inaugural winner, and third placegetter, was former Hawke's Bay A and P Society president Peter Tod.
All stock entered will be bought by Affco and $1000 in prizemoney is up for grabs, with $500 for the winner.
Extra incentive comes through the event being at the Royal Show, with the Tomoana showgrounds now, and for at least the foreseeable future, the home of the Royal Agricultural Society of New Zealand's major event since 2015.
The A and P Society staged its 150th anniversary show in 2013, has been at Tomoana since 1925, and hopes the RAS will soon extend its rights to the Royal Show until 2023, a ninth year in a row.
RAS president Geoff Smith said he expects the decision on Hawke's Bay's continuation with the Royal Show will be made by the executive next month.
"They [Hawke's Bay A and P] have been a great team to work with," he said. "They've done a lot of work to rebuild the Royal Show."
Hawke's Bay has already had a major success in beef production this year, with Northern Hawke's Bay farmers the Knauf family hooking the top prize at the Steak of Origin at Fieldays last month.