Local legend of the land shares his Jersey herd
LIGHTNING quite literally struck twice for legendary Australian dairy farmer Pat McDonald and his wife Patricia at their Murwillumbah property earlier this year, an electrical storm cruelly costing two of the pair's champion Jersey herd.
But it hasn't stopped one of "nature's gentleman” and his partner in life from going ahead with what has been dubbed the Sale of the Half Century as they bid to sell-off and share some of their prized Kenarie Jersey herd.
"We were originally planning to auction 53 lots to represent my 53 years in the industry but we've had a bit of bad luck in recent times,” Mr McDonald said.
"We lost two cattle in a lightning strike in January this year including my cow who won Champion and Supreme Champion All Breeds at the Royal Brisbane Show last year.
"That was a real blow and we were just getting over that when we had the floods in late March.
"We lost 17 head in the floods and it was devastating but you have to pick yourself up and keep going.
"I love breeding and showing cattle and this sale is a way for me to give something back to the industry that has been so rewarding and brought me so much happiness.”
Another local farmer, who was reared on Tweed dairy properties before the region turned largely to sugar cane, described the successful breeder as "one of nature's gentlemen” and said he was applauded across the nation for his abilities with cattle.
Mrs McDonald said it was a passion Pat's father, Frank, gifted his sons.
"Pat and his brothers continued dairying, breeding Jersey cattle and showing,” she said.
"They're shown in Sydney and all the other shows around.
"We got Champion and Supreme Champion All Breeds at the Royal Brisbane Show last year.
"But she was killed by lightning, two of the cows that we took to Brisbane were struck by lightning.
"We've been breeding 53 years and that's the first time it's happened to us.”
The Kenarie Jersey sale was held as part of the 2017 Jersey Australia Conference, held in Lismore this week.
As part of the event, 44 of the McDonalds' cows were set to go under the hammer at the Murwillumbah racecourse.