Organisers of Queensland’s largest agricultural show are scrambling to keep events and sales alive after the Ekka was cancelled just days before it was due to open.

Key points:

  • A COVID-19 outbreak has seen this year’s Ekka cancelled for the second year running
  • Stud cattle owners packed up and went home but other competitions are going ahead elsewhere
  • Some events are being held outside south-east Queensland while others will be live-streamed

With stud cattle breeders already setting up, the state government on Sunday extended its snap, three-day lockdown in 11 local government areas until 4pm Sunday, August 8, to stop the spread of a growing COVID-19 cluster.

After the extended lockdown was announcted,  stud breeders were sent home but organisers were planning to hold the prime cattle section at the Silverdale Saleyards today and the carcass category of the led steer competition at Nolan’s Abattoir in Gympie.

Beef steward Gary Noller said organisers had factored in changes to health advice when planning this year’s event.

A man in a suit and large hat carrying an iPad, stands beside a brown and white bull and a younger man in a blue suit

Ekka beef steward Gary Noller (left) says organisers have made contingency plans for some of the show’s events.(

ABC New England: Lara Webster

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Mr Noller said that, while some of the events would need to be modified, he was keen to see them go ahead.

“We still will be able to announce a result and any accolade that might help a producer sell a bull or market his cattle better will still be available to them,” Mr Noller said.

Events postponed

A number of the events have been postponed, with organisers still trying to work out how they planned run them — some moving away from south-east Queensland and others holding virtual competitions.

Close-up of a delicious strawberry on top of a squirt of whipped cream sitting on a scoop of strawberry ice-cream in a cone

Charity organisation The Common Good is still trying to work out what to do with its strawberry sundaes which were bound for the Ekka.(

ABC

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The Prince Charles Hospital charity organisation The Common Good was still trying to work out how to sell stockpiles of the Ekka’s famous strawberry sundaes.

Australian Livestock and Property Agents Association’s CEO, Peter Baldwin, said the organisation was planning to take its young auctioneers competition to one of Queensland’s regional saleyards.

“What it will look like is the truest form of a livestock auction,” Mr Baldwin said.

“The auctioneers will be expected to sell steers to expert buyers in that saleyard.”

Dozens of people, most wearing felt hats, watch on as a young auctioneer plies his trade

Organisers of the Ekka’s young auctioneers competition are planning to move the event to a regional saleyard.(

ABC Rural

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Mr Baldwin said that, while the contingency plans were exciting, the organisation preferred to have the competition at the Ekka.

“Ideally we would want to conduct the auction at the Ekka but, if we have to make contingencies, that’s what we do.” 

Ekka contingency plans made after COVID-19 shuts down show
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