Voice of Real Australia: Well, that's a lot of bull

Voice of Real Australia is a regular newsletter from Australian Community Media, which has journalists in every state and territory. Sign up here to get it by email, or here to forward it to a friend. Today's newsletter is written by senior journalist at Queensland Country Life, Sally Cripps.

Tough day.

Tough day.

Out here in western Queensland we ride bulls, we catch bulls, we pay for bulls, and we call bull#*%t when we see it.

One of my first jobs when I began work for the Queensland Country Life was to write about the testicular development of bulls.

I've been reminded of my initiation into the all-important fathering ability of these animals thanks to the spring bull selling season in Queensland and New South Wales getting up a full head of steam.

Reporting on these sales is all part of an agricultural journalist's job and when a price of $160,000 is paid, you can see why.

It was a stud in Western Australia, Oldfield Angus, that set the new national Angus breed record at the start of the month when they paid that "hammer-shattering" price for Paratrooper P15, offered by the Bathurst-based Millah Murrah Angus stud.

But that's not the largest amount paid for a bull in Australia, no way.

Cloncurry breeders Rodger and Lorena Jefferis paid $325,000 for a Brahman bull, NCC Justified in 2017, making him the highest priced bull to ever sell in Australia.

The lowdown on the 10 highest prices paid to date was compiled last week - Paratrooper comes in at number seven.

Wallumbilla stud stock breeder Andrew Bassingthwaighte sold this Santa Gertrudis bull, Yarrawonga P914 (PP) to Neil Watson at Tamworth for $51,000 last week. Picture - Helen Walker.

Wallumbilla stud stock breeder Andrew Bassingthwaighte sold this Santa Gertrudis bull, Yarrawonga P914 (PP) to Neil Watson at Tamworth for $51,000 last week. Picture - Helen Walker.

There's a few things Queensland farmers and their supporters have been calling bull on this month, most notably the state government's Environmental Protection (Great Barrier Reef Protection Measures) and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2019.

The concerns surrounding the impact of the introduction of these 'reef regulations' has been so great that peak lobby group AgForce deleted a decade's worth of best management practice data earlier in the year, saying the information could be misused under compliance and control sections of the proposed new laws.

When state parliament went to Townsville at the start of September to govern for a week from the heart of Great Barrier Reef country, it was a prime opportunity for opponents to have their point of view heard more widely.

Protesters gathered in Townsville. Picture - Jessica Johnston.

Protesters gathered in Townsville. Picture - Jessica Johnston.

Around 300 were joined by LNP opposition members plus the three Katter's Australian Party MPs in a show of force against the proposed laws.

LNP MP Dale Last, whose electorate in the Burdekin is very much in the firing line of the changes, pulled no punches.

"This government will have you believe you're poisoning the reef with your fertiliser and chemicals and water run-off and I say that's bullshit," he told them.

Former rugby league front rower Martin Bella and controversial marine scientist Dr Peter Ridd, who later in the week won a $1.2 million compensation payout from his former employer James Cook University following his successful unfair dismissal claim, were among the farmers' supporters.

Someone who could round up both bulls and recalcitrant politicians with equal ease is 31-year-old Lach McClymont, who last year mustered 2500 cleanskins from 2,023,000ha Nicholson Station high on the Queensland-Northern Territory border, making 50km of roads in the process - you can read about his epic adventure and his down-to-earth approach to life here.

For the record, Millah Murrah Paratrooper's scrotal circumference was 42cm - that's a lot of bull.

Sally Cripps,

Senior journalist, Queensland Country Life

Sign up below to receive the Voice of Real Australia newsletter direct to your inbox each weekday.