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It's a shorthorn world after all
Time to talk: Third
Murphy, left, and
A medium sized muscular beef
They can be coloured red,
white or roan
Docile and easy to handle
Good for crossbreeding and as
a terminal sire
Easy calving with few problems
Calf birthweight about 39kg
Calves grow well and produce
a good quality carcass
Meat is well marbled and with
Source: New Zealand Shorthorn
On tour: Shorthorn breeders Craig Morton, of Katikati, and Russell Proffit, of
Piopio, at the 2013 World Shorthorn Conference.
The 14th world shorthorn conference has just been held in New Zealand. Reporter Diane Bishop caught up with the tour when it visited the
Murphy family's 100-year-old milking shorthorn herd, on the outskirts of Invercargill.
Docile: Shorthorn cows.
They're not the most popular
But shorthorn cattle have a
special place in David Murphy's
His family have been milking
shorthorns for almost 100 years
on their property on East Road on
the outskirts of Invercargill.
Third generation shorthorn far-
mer David insists he's ''never had
a hankering'' to change breeds
despite the crossbred and Frie-
sian cow dominating the southern
About 80 shorthorn breeders got
an insight into the Murphy
farming operation during the 14th
World Shorthorn Conference
which toured the country from
March 8 to 27.
The tour group, which hailed
from the United Kingdom,
Ireland, United States, Canada,
Argentina, Australia and New
Zealand visited about 20 studs,
both beef and milking shorthorns,
from Kerikeri, at the top of the
North Island, to Invercargill.
It was David's grandfather, also
named David, who started milk-
ing shorthorn cattle in the early
1920s when he emigrated to
Southland from Northern Ireland.
It then became his son John's
Galgorm stud and later David's
Today David, who is in his 70s,
farms the 180-cow herd in
partnership with son Paul, who
established the Grosvenor short-
horn stud in 1995, and they often
compete for production on the 127
Production is expected to be
around 390 to 400 kilograms of
milk solids per cow this season.
David is focused on increasing
per head production and culling
low producers, but this has been
difficult in the past couple of
years because of the extreme
The property is completely self-
contained with the cows wintered
on kale and swedes with more
than 800 bales of baleage produced
each year while the in-calf heifers
are wintered inside.
There are also 45 in-calf heifers
and 80 heifer calves to cater for.
Up until the 1980s, David milked
just 60 cows and farmed about 600
sheep, but the sheep were
eventually phased out and the
herd grew to its current size.
However, there are no plans for
further expansion of the herd.
''It's economic as it is -- we haven't
got much debt,'' David said.
The herd was once milked
through a six-bay walkthrough
but this has since been extended
to a 22-aside herringbone shed
which can easily be operated by
David admits it is a ''challenge to
breed good shorthorns'' but one of
his most successful cows Roslyn
Cassie was awarded a VHC Exc
(Very Highly Commended Excel-
lence) by the New Zealand
Milking Shorthorn Association at
age 12, having produced 545
kilograms of milk solids at seven
Cassie is also the dam of Roslyn
General, who was ranked top bull
for the Shorthorn breed in the
early 2000s and had two sons in
the breed scheme.
For years the family showed
cattle as far away as Christ-
church, but gave it up in the 1990s
because of the work involved.
David also served on the New
Zealand Milking Shorthorn
Association executive for more
than 30 years and took on the role
as president in the 1980s and was
treasurer for several years.
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