THE Angus breed took top honours in the annual ALFA Beef Challenge for 2018 - the se-cond consecutive year.During the recent ALFA 2018 held from September 18 to 20 at the Afridome in Parys, visitors to the expo had the opportunity to blind-taste meat from five different cattle breeds. All the meat was aged and prepared in the same manner, and the public could taste and then vote for their favourite.“I want to thank the breeders that supplied meat for this interesting challenge,” said Albert Loubser, one of the organisers of ALFA. “We had Brahman, Afrikaner, Bonsmara, Simbra and Angus meat in this year’s challenge. After the meat was sourced, it was wet-aged for 14 days and prepared by the Koepel Butchery in Parys.” Angus crowned again The winner of the challenge was announced at the prestigious ALFA gala dinner held on Thursday, September 20. RC Malherbe of the Angus Society of South Africa, was called to the stage to accept the award on behalf of the society, after the Angus beef emerged as the clear winner for the second consecutive year.As during the previous year’s challenge, the Angus breed was represented in the challenge by Andrew Masterson of Milagro Farms, just West of Oyster Bay. “We supplied 15kg of Angus sirloin steak through Sebastian’s Butchery in Humansdorp,” said Masterson. According to him, the repeat victory is testimony not only to the value of the breed, but also the manner in which the animals are reared.“The meat was sourced from pasture-fed Angus cattle from my commercial herd. Our herd is run on pastures all year round. We don’t use growth stimulants or routine antibiotics and choose natural rearing as far as possible,” he said.According to Masterson, Angus beef is one of the best meats when it comes to marbling and tenderness.“These qualities are further enhanced by the natural and humane treatment of the cattle.” The people’s choice A challenge such as this is much more than just a popularity contest, explained Loubser. “Meat quality is currently one of the hottest topics in the beef industry. A lot of research is being done on meat quality and many breeders and other role-players in the industry are making claims regarding the quality of their specific breed’s meat.“There is, however, no platform on which the quality of the meat of different breeds is currently being compared and, more importantly, where the opinion of the consumer is sought.” He emphasised the importance of valuing the consumer’s opinion when it comes to meat quality. “The consumer is king and the consumer’s opinion is the one that should be considered when taking farming decisions, both at industry and farm level.”The competition will be presented again at next year’s ALFA which will be held from September 17 to 19.