Weird cow breeds: Murray Grey cattle


The first grey calves were considered an embarrassment when they appeared in a herd of black Angus cattle.

Weird cow breeds: Murray Grey cattle

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  • 1 year ago

The first grey calves were considered an embarrassment when they appeared in a herd of black Angus cattle.

The Murray Grey is an Australian cattle breed, originating in Thologolong on the New South Wales/Victoria border. The breed is renowned worldwide for its maternal and beef qualities.

On farms across Australia, New Zealand, Asia, North America and Europe, the Murray Grey has become popular with suckler farmers, whether intensive, extensive, or organic systems.

Murray Greys make an excellent cross with continental breeds, and its attributes of easy-calving, docility, fertility and carcass quality are all evident in the crossbred progeny.

Furthermore, the Australian native grows quickly and readily convert grass to beef, as well as finishing economically in feedlots.

The Murray Grey carries a particular genetic make-up, which enables it to produce marbled beef without excess subcutaneous or intermuscular fat. This is a valuable Australian export to countries such as Japan, Korea and other Asian markets.

According to the Murray Grey Beef Cattle Society, it is the most successful breed in Australian inter-breed steer and carcass competitions.

The first Grey calves

The first Murray Grey calves were born at the Sutherland family’s property in Thologolong in the early 1900s. They were bred by chance after a black Aberdeen Angus bull and a roan Shorthorn cow crossed paths.

The grey calves were considered an embarrassment when they first appeared in a herd of black Angus cattle in the upper Murray River Valley. However, these silver-coloured cattle grew quickly and had a greater feed conversion efficiency to their counterparts. It wasn’t long until cattlemen in the valley began developing the breed.

By the early 1960's several breeders were successfully breeding commercial Murray Greys and the Murray Grey Beef Cattle Society was formed, which brought about significant growth and development of the breed.

Breed characteristics

  • Docile, easy-managed beef cattle;
  • Good suckler cow: easy-calving, excellent milk production and fertility;
  • Naturally polled;
  • Colour: silver grey through to dark dun;
  • Medium-sized cattle: cows 500-700kg, bulls 900-1100kg;
  • Consistently high-quality beef, well marbled and tender;
  • Adaptable to finish off grass or in feedlots.

More information about the breed can be found on the Murray Grey Beef Cattle Society website.

Photo credit: Murray Grey Beef Cattle Society

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