In the upper Murray River valley on the Thologolong property in New South Wales Australia a story evolved around Peter and Eva Sutherland. Peter bred an Aberdeen Angus bull to some Shorthorn, nee light roan cows in 1905. Eva, much to her husband’s dismay, kept 12-13 roan heifers. Upon Peter’s death, Eva sold the herd to Peter’s cousin, Helen Sutherland in 1917. Thus, Helen began the development of the Murray Grey breed, a breed developed using a systematic breeding program in 1929.
Murray Grey semen was imported to the North American continent in 1969 and in 1972 the first cattle arrived. Murray Grey’s are the second largest breed in Australia and the fastest growing beef breed in the continental USA.
With the discovery of the bovine genome Murray Grey’s are one of 5 breeds noted to have a tenderness gene due to the Shorthorn breed. Much earlier in the 20th century, butchers found the meat to have a consistent tenderness and quality. Of note in 2008 at the Calgary Stampede Carcass Competition was the largest represented breed and a Murray Grey steer was declared Grand Champion Carcass and for 2 years in a row. Again in 2008 and for the first time in history at the Midland Bull Test and sale in Columbus, Montana, specifically a Murray Grey bulls scored a perfect 10 for marbling and 9 for genetic tenderness. ‘No bull of any breed has ever performed so well’!
Several important traits:
2. Easy calving low birthweight calves
3. Good maternal traits protective of their young
4. Naturally polled
5. Colors – ranging from light silver, blonde, to dunn and dark dunn almost black
6. Longevity for cows to live productively to 15+ years
7. Adaptability to all climates
8. Carcass quality and consistency.