Why We Chose Murray Greys
When we set out to purchase cattle, we had very modest goals in mind. We wanted some beef for our family, children, grandchildren, etc. Our long-time friends and neighbors wanted the same thing. We were all four of us ‘in’ on this endeavor! We wanted a sustainable operation, something we didn’t have to go broke to maintain. So, for a fast start, we had the following wish-list in mind:
- a bull
- 3-6 cows/heifers, preferably already bred
- 2 young steers as a jump start towards a full freezer
Then we had to decide what KIND of beef we wanted to raise. Well, we didn’t want to have to throw a lot of grain at it to produce a tender product. Also, we needed the cattle to be gentle enough the ladies of this farm could participate.
Some may know (but we did not at the time) that Kentucky has the highest number of beef cattle per square mile of ANY state East of the Mississippi! And, as in many other states, black cattle (i.e. Angus) is king. Why in the world didn’t we just go pick some up at the local stockyard? This is what everyone wanted to know.
Well, though Angus reached our top-four options, when you’re producing beef for yourself, color makes no difference to the meat product. So, like any nerdy farmer, we turned to a pros and cons spreadsheet of four breeds (Angus, Shorthorn, Beefmaster, Murray Grey) to help us decide, and we were to decide which we wanted INDIVIDUALLY, not as a couple or as a group. Then we would all meet to share our decisions (and HOPE AND PRAY we didn’t all pick different breeds, lol!).
Well, we all came to the same conclusion individually (fortunately!) and it was MURRAY GREY! Murray Greys were developed in Australia from an Angus/Shorthorn cross that consistently threw gray/silver calves. Here is the ultimate why of our choice:
- They carry the same tenderness/marbling genes as Angus and Wagyu (of Kobe beef fame).
- The meat was supposed to be lightly marbled and tender, even without being fed grain.
- The cattle were known for there docility and ease of handling.
- Their lighter coat color meant they spent more time grazing in the heat than their darker, shade seeking cousins.
- Because their hides retain the dark grey/black hues of Angus, the prevalence of pinkeye is greatly reduced.
- They typically calve easy, have an excellent mothering instinct, and produce a high milk yield for their calves.
Well, Angie of Murray Grey International Association directed us to Limestone Ridge Farms in Indiana where we ended up purchasing our first ‘wish list’ of stock. They were delivered Thanksgiving weekend!
After a year, we were hooked and knew we wanted to raise more cattle and sell custom cut beef. We were put in touch with a couple in Ohio that were retiring from the cattle business and we gained another 11 girls for our herd and we aren’t looking back. We are currently running about 30 head on our 100 acres.
If you’re curious about Murray Greys, we’d love to share our experience with you, so reach out on our Contact page. We also belong to a community of passionate Murray Grey breeders nationwide, so check out the Murray Grey International Association website and the American Murray Grey Association websites for information.