AI Sires Built to Last

Millah Murrah T-drop bulls at 15 months of age.

Established in 1969 and located at Bathurst in NSW, Ross and Dimity Thompson’s Millah Murrah Angus stud has produced more than a dozen breed-influencing sires over the past decade.

Some of these bulls have set Angus breed records, with most of them used widely in artificial insemination programs, both domestically and internationally.

Longevity is a key strength of the Millah Murrah sires that have made an impact on the industry, according to Bill Cornell.

Mr Cornell was the ABS Australia beef product manager for more than 20 years and played a major role in the development of the Angus breed.

“When a bull makes the headlines, so often we see their early demise, be it through injury, infertility, or misadventure,” Mr Cornell said.

“One of the defining advantages of the Millah Murrah bulls has been their longevity.

“Being a semen sire puts enormous pressure on the bulls’ soundness.

“They are locked up for months, and even years, on-centre, where structure and staying ability gets a stern examination.

Auctioneer Paul Dooley; Ross Thompson and Wyatt Thomson, Millah Murrah; Jim Wedge, Ascot Angus, Warwick, Qld; and former ABS beef product manager Bill Cornell after the 2016 bull sale.

“One of the outstanding strengths of the Millah Murrah sires has been their ability to withstand that stress and lead long and productive lives, not just through semen provision, but also in the natural service role once their collection days are done.”

What became of these sires and their contributions to the breed, is outlined below.

Kingdom K35

Kingdom K35 rose to prominence in 2015, when he fetched $150,000 as the all-time-record priced Angus bull at the time.

Witherswood Angus secured walking rights and Ascot and Gilmandyke studs were syndicate partners along with ABS.

After the dispersal of Witherswood in 2018, renowned Injune commercial breeders Jeremy and Julie Shaw purchased Kingdom, who produced more than 150 natural calves for them after he had turned six years of age.

To date, 1650 registered Kingdom progeny have been recorded in Australia, with commercial calves estimated around 5000 head.

Kingdom calves are recorded in the UK and NZ herd books and several other European nations, and he has a remarkable legacy through his daughters, with 26 bulls from Kingdom dams fetching $7000 more than the average at Millah Murrah’s world record bull sales in 2021 and 2022.

Kingdom died in 2023 aged nine.

Klooney K42

Klooney sold at the same sale as Kingdom for $80,000, making him the fifth highest priced Australian Angus bull at the time.

Cherylton Farms Angus in WA acquired walking rights, with Witherswood, Gilmandyke and ABS syndicated in the purchase.

Klooney K42 has a reputation as a maternal sire, producing leading Angus dam Flower N30.

A son of Booroomooka Theo, Klooney has forged a stellar reputation as a maternal sire.

Chief among his progeny achievements has been Flower N30, the highest valued Australian Angus cow in history after a half share of her embryo production was sold for $140,000 in 2023.

Klooney has more than 2000 registered calves in Australia with commercial numbers exceeding 5000.

Internationally he has progeny in the US, NZ, UK, and many continental countries.

Aged 10, Klooney still walks the paddocks at Cherylton Farms.

Rob Swinton and Trent Walker, Keringa and Millah Murrah Angus, with Ross and Dimity Thompson of Millah Murrah after their female sale in 2023 which achieved an Angus female world record average price.

Loch Up L133

At $85,000, Loch Up was the highest selling Australian Angus bull in 2016, purchased by Ascot Angus and ABS.

He has almost 1700 registered progeny and several thousand commercial calves in Australia, as well as calves on the ground in NZ and England.

A renowned cow making bull, Loch up has recently appeared as the maternal grandsire of multiple sale topping bulls across the country.

Loch Up died in 2022 aged seven.

Paratrooper P15

One of the most influential Angus sires of the 21st Century, Paratrooper set a record for the Angus breed of $160,000, when he sold in 2019.

He was purchased by Arkle Angus from WA, with ABS as semen distributors and NZ rights acquired by Twin Oaks Angus.

Paratrooper had the most progeny recorded with Angus Australia in 2021 and 2022, and currently has more than 6000 offspring on the register and more than 10,000 commercial calves.

Paratrooper P15, aged three. Paratrooper is a leading Angus sire with more than 16,000 progeny.

Internationally, Paratrooper has seen strong uptake in New Zealand, with semen supplied into the US, Canada, and South Africa.

Paratrooper sons have dominated many sales, highlighted by his sons Rocketman ($280,000) and Rembrandt ($240,000) who smashed the Australian breed record in 2021.

At six years of age, Paratrooper has been collecting well over summer and autumn. He will return to the paddock at Arkle Stud in time for their autumn joining season.

Quixote Q96

The $60,000 high selling bull at Millah Murrah’s sale in 2020, Quixote already has more than 1300 registered progeny in Australia, with semen sales to NZ and the UK.

He is owned by Clift Angus and Woonallee Simmentals in SA, where he is a resident sire.

Rocketman R38

Rocketman set a new price record for Angus in 2021 when he was purchased for $280,000 by Brooklana Angus, with ABS securing semen distribution rights post sale.

A son of Paratrooper P15, he already has more than 1000 registered progeny.

Rocketman is a walking sire at Roseleigh Angus in SA.

Rembrandt R48

Rembrandt sold for $240,000 in 2021, when he was purchased by Clift Angus, Woonallee Simmentals and ABS.

More than 800 registered offspring have been recorded, with that number set to grow exponentially in the next 12 months.

A Paratrooper son from a Kingdom dam, Rembrandt is a walking sire at Woonallee, where his son set a new Australian record of $35,000 for a SimAngus bull at their sale in February.

Other notable recent sires

Kruse Time K400, Marlon Brando M304, Nugget N266 and Nectar N334 all have more than 400 registered calves recorded.

Kruse Time died at eight years of age, with semen sales as far afield as Namibia.

The other three sires are all performing in a natural mating role, approaching seven and eight years of age, with semen sales ongoing.

The next generation

Millah Murrah’s next generation of industry sires is led by Santiago S304, Trigger T308, Rector R53, Sunstruck S207 & Quartz Q29.

Santiago S304, pictured at two years of age, is set to have a big impact on the Angus breed.

Santiago topped the 2023 Millah Murrah sale at $200,000. He was purchased by Couch Pastoral with ABS engaged for semen marketing.

Trigger sold for $180,000 the same day to a syndicate headed by ABS.

Rector is owned by Spring Waters Angus with NZ rights held by Twin Oaks and ABS managing global semen sales.

Trigger T308, pictured at 14 months.

Sunstruck is a Nectar son, from the record setting Klooney daughter Flower N30. Global semen distribution is managed by Agri Gene.

Quartz is a Kruse Time son, from Flower N30, and is privately owned.

The future

The 55-year-old Millah Murrah herd relies on merging generations of the best homebred bloodlines, with the occasional introduction of well researched outside genetics.

Millah Murrah’s steadfast breeding policy is that all introduced animals must be inspected in the flesh by co-principal Ross Thompson.

Upcoming outside introductions for the 2024 bull sale include the first progeny of Taimate Roy from New Zealand.

He will join homegrown sires like Rector R53 and Rembrandt R48 in a 130-bull catalogue on September 5.

“We have had an incredible run for the past decade or so, and it is exciting to see our high-profile sires having such a strong impact on the Angus population,” Mr Thompson said.

“The best part of the stud game is designing the next generation, and we will continue to look across the globe, to eyeball bulls that will take our herd and the breed forward.”

Ross and Dimity Thompson with their daughters Millie, Olivia and Twiggy.

Looking further ahead, as the three Thompson children near the end of their schooling, Mr Thompson said his daughters – Millie, Olivia and Twiggy – are showing plenty of interest in the cattle, especially at calving and sale time.

“There is so much opportunity for young people in agriculture and we’ll give them the option to take the reins one day,” he said.

“But Dimity and I have always said the kids must choose their own path in life, so if that means one or all of them find their way back home, that would be a blessing.

“Either way it will be fascinating to see where they end up.”