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The History
The McGregor family purchased Willalooka from the White family in 1958 together with the Angus herd of Belltrees and Hazeldean bloodlines.
As part of a bid to boost growth and size, 20 Murray Grey cows and three bulls were purchased in 1965 from the Glen and Cudellan Park. The 170 Willalooka Angus cows were recorded in the Murray Grey herd book as approved Angus - the largest number of recorded approved Angus from one herd in the Murray Grey breeds foundation. This saw the beginning of the Willalooka Murray Grey enterprise, and back then, the Murray Grey cattle outperformed the others in all key traits: high growth rates; marbling characteristics; doability and calving ease. By the mid 1990s, Willalooka Murray Greys had become the top performing stud by any measurement. In order to achieve further genetic enhancement, Willalooka started to use leading Angus sires.
By the late nineties, the commercial industry was starting to make a greater distinction between Grey and Black cattle, which resulted in a decline in demand for Grey genetics. In 1998 Willalooka, established a pure bred Angus herd based on 13 donor cows specially selected for structural soundness, fertility and a balance of all production traits, including carcass qualities. These core animals were used in a large embryo transfer program, in addition to some natural breeding. In 1999, 59 pure Angus calves were bred, building on the 108 registered stud and APR females that formed the basis of the 500 registered breeder herd. The stud went from selling 56 Murray Greys and 53 Angus in 2003 to 39 Murray Greys and 89 Angus in 2009.
In the middle of the worst drought in 40 years, Willalooka purchased The Basin stud of 800 registered easy care, structurally sound proven cattle with strong carcass traits. Established in 1961 at Keith in the SE of South Australia, the Stud was moved to Riverleas on Kangaroo Island, SA, in 1999. The stud sold around 300 bulls in SA and QLD, as well as breeding a number under contract to suit specifc EBV requirement of an NT pastoral client.
The Basin herd is renown for its doing ability and structural soundness. The herd has been classed by the independent assessor, Jim Green from Culcairn in NSW, and his structural assessments have played an important role in ensuring the continuing structural strength of the herd. The Basin's recent emphasis has been on New Zealand bloodlines, with smaller amounts of genetics used from the USA. This has helped the cattle evolve into a high performing herd displaying tremendous thickness, capacity and excellent carcass traits.

The combination of these two genetic pools resulted in one of the largest registered herd in Australia. The stud always aimed to produce highly fertile, easy care affordable bulls for the commercial producer. Over 250 bulls were sold in SA and Queensland until 2010 when the strategic decision was made to switch the business focus to a commerical cattle operation and exit the seedstock business. The female herd was classed and pregnancy tested and everything classed by Dick Whale as a pair, and then top quality PTIC animals with a calf at foot were sold in a stud dispersal sale. Around 200 females were sold and all bulls. The remaining stud cows formed the basis of the quality herd that still exists today.
Registered bulls are still produced from a select group of registered cows, all of which are AI mated. This ensures the quality of the genetics in the commercial herd.
The select group of Stud Murray Grey cows were sold to S Kidman & Co. to continue to breed Tuli Murray Grey composite bulls for their requirements in Northern Australia.
Willalooka Basin
PMB 154, Naracoorte, South Australia 5271   |   T (08) 8757 3025   |   F (08) 8757 3073   |   M 0407 971 894
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