Blue Range

Santa Gertrudis - Stud Sale Default

Stud No 178 – Jack & Olga Matthews decided in 1966 to purchase some Santa Gertrudis stock to breed some bulls for their commercial herd. Jack liked the makeup and look of the breed and set about sourcing some cattle. The original cows were 20 second cross heifers and a purebred bull (OT5), from the King Ranch owned station MILLUNGERA at Julia Creek. Jack’s brother in law and sister, Bill & May Stuart, were looking after the Millungerd stud herd at the Crowfels outstation at the time. I recall the old original stud cows to be magnificent, large framed, beautiful looking matrons with good coats, large clean eared, dark red, banana horned cattle; proper old King Ranch type stock.

Remembering back, OT was a fairly British looking bull. Several more bulls were bought from Millungera before we went to the Elgin Downs sale and bought “Elgin Downs Benefactor”. He was a once in a lifetime bull with great frame and coat, superb temperament and to cap it off, prepotent sire. We were using his grandsons years later and you could tell at a glance what calves were theirs, not like today unfortunately. We were always chuffed when the old livestock manager at the works used to say that Blue Range/Valpre bullocks were at least a head longer than nearly all cattle going over the floor.

Stud 178 was formed and expanded to breed bulls for the commercial herd and did so for many years. When the breed became fascinated with polled heads, I became disillusioned for some time because you could never tell what the calves would be like from your new beauty stud bull. Hopefully the breed is largely back on track and can pick up where it left off 10 or 15 years ago. The terrible drought of 2015 decimated our herd and a large part of the stud was also sold. I had a little quiet weep as the cows went on the trucks, however as they always do, if you can hang in there, the seasons have come good and we are in a rebuilding stage of the stud and carrying on Jack and Olga’s vision.

The Santa Gertrudis breed has changed from those old King Ranch type cattle; underlines have been tidied, polls are more common and frames have become more moderate. The classification system is absolutely still necessary and I am sure those people carrying out this vital task for the breed will promote a good frame, clean skin and ears, flat topline, a neat tail setting, tidy underneath and with a good temperament. The breed still has an important part to play in the beef industry as a stand alone herd or for cross breeding. They are simply good cattle and we are proud member’s of Santa Gertrudis Australia.

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