The coronavirus crisis and a drought may not have served the rural community well in 2020 but it turned it into a win for Otane farmer Ross Malcolm as he claimed the fourth Affco Best of the Bay Beef title at the Hawke's Bay A and P Show in Hastings today.
As a former dairy farmer he would normally have been a steward in the show's live cattle section, but its cancellation meant he was finally able to enter something, and claim what became a major show prize in the absence of such traditional stock section prizes as the Meat and Wool Cup.
It was an eye for class, sorting two heifers – but one that was particularly class – from a "mob" of 41 from his 300 Totaranui heifers, at Ruatane.
A fortnight ago the entries were judged on the hoof, and then on the hook, but the excitement was left for the taste test today
judged by farmer Peter Grieve, Affco representative Rowan Ogg, and Hastings Mayor Sandra Hazlehurst.
They were watched by a Members Marquee audience including Napier Mayor Kirsten Wise and councillor Sally Crown, both fresh from a meeting on their northern side of the rivers.
Among others present as the morsels were passed around for general appraisal was 96-year-old A and P Society patron Hamilton Logan, who adduced No 4 wouldn't win it.
The taste buds were also in good working order, for it was No 11 that won, not that anyone knew that was the one that came from Central Hawke's Bay until the results were announced.
The best of Malcolm's was adjudged best on the hoof and best overall. Best on the hook was the progeny of Beamish Fars Awapai, and best taste went to an entry from Guy Strang Livestock.
Hamish and Lea Giblin's The Dome Ltd cleaned-up the export lamb new-season class, on the hoof and the hook, and the old-season class was won by Wairoa's Roadley Six, with Graham and Di Roadley.
The commercial heifer section was won by the Thomas Family's Toronui Station and manager Dylan Rofe.
The second day of the downsized show was otherwise dominated by equestrian competitions and other events included a secondary schools shearing competition, which had an entry of 21 teenagers.
Today ends the traditional stock side of the show, as a new Mega Carnival with about 20 rides from major fairground operator Mahon Amusements starts a four-day Hawke's Bay Anniversary and Labour Day weekend show, with free entry to the venue. It includes night shows on Friday and Saturday.