The Murray Grey breed of cattle began in Australia along the Murray River in New South Wales. In 1905, on the property of Peter and Eva Sutherland a light roan shorthorn cow, when bred to various Aberdeen Angus bulls produced only grey calves. She had produced twelve of them by 1917, which were the origin of this breed. The herd was sold to Helen Sutherland in 1929, who started a systematic breeding program.
Mervyn Gadd started a second Murray Grey herd in the early 1940s as a commercial venture, using a Grey bull from the Sutherland’s and breeding up from Angus cows.
Butchers began to pay a premium price for the Greys because of their consistent high cutability and less waste. Murray Greys began to win carcass competitions in the early 70’s and have continued to dominate the steer and carcass classes at the Royal shows in Australia.
Murray Greys are one of the two preferred breeds for importation to Japan, due to their easy fleshing and high quality meat production. The Murray’s have also started to win carcass competitions at the Calgary Stampede in Canada.
Greys and their crosses can be found producing in Canada, and South America; in the United States, they can be found in the Western areas, in the Corn Belt, the Plains from north to south, and in the hot climates of the deep south. They are, of course, a major breed in Australia and New Zealand, and Murray Greys are presently being introduced in various areas of Africa.
Polled: Murray Greys are naturally polled and take the horns off crossbred calves.
Calving Ease: The calves are small and quick to their feet. They grow quickly and are adaptable to all climates. Many commercial producers buy a Murray bull to use on first calf heifers and are pleased enough with the results to use the bull on all their herd.
Docile: Murray Greys are calm to work with and are known as the “gentle builders of beef”. Their good nature is especially important to part-time producers; ease of handling saves time, money, and temper!
Colour: The hair colour ranges from very light silver to chocolate or dun grey; some animals are even black but the majority are silver to a silvery-khaki colour. Their skin has a dark pigmentation, which helps prevent cancer eye.