Huge steer saved from slaughterhouse serves as cattle herd in Western Australia

You’re probably familiar with the term “too big to fail.” Well, meet Knickers, the steer who’s too big to eat. Knickers — who lives on a farm near Lake Preston, Western Australia — stands 194 centimetres tall and weighs more than 1,400 kilograms. He’s likely to be the biggest bovine in Australia and one of the biggest in the world. At that size, he’d provide plenty of meals. There’s just one problem: Knickers doesn’t fit in commercial meat processing equipment.

“He was too big to go into the export plant’s chain,” owner Geoff Pearson told ABC. “We have a high turnover of cattle, and he was lucky enough to stay behind.

That was a few hundred kilograms ago. Now, Knickers has reached the ripe old age of 7 and weighs more than some cars. He certainly stands out among the other cattle on Pearson’ ranch, so much so that Knickers has himself a much better job than turning into patties. The Holstein Fresian steer acts as a coach for other livestock, herding them. According to Pearson, Knickers is a natural.

“You’ll put him on a paddock and all the other cattle seem to get attracted to him,” Pearson said. “Whenever he wants to get up and start walking there’s a trail of hundreds of cattle following him. We all know when Knickers is on the move.”

Knickers is certainly easy to keep tabs on, as he has eclipsed Big Moo, previous proud owner of the title of Australia’s largest steer. Knickers does, however, fall short of Bellino, the Guiness world record holder at just over 2 metres tall. Part of the explanation for Knickers’ size is that Holstein Fresians are one of the largest cattle breeds. Also, farmers use selective breeding to produce bigger and bigger cattle. And while that may make for larger cows and steers in the future, Knickers is still a rarity.

As for his name, it comes from Knickers’ friendship with Bra, a Brahman steer. “The full set — top and bottom,” Pearson quipped.