Hughes family carrying on Phillip's cattle legacy

Late cricketer Phillip Hughes' Four 0 Eight Angus Stud lives on thanks to his loving family at Macksville

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Greg Hughes, his daughter Megan and her partner Curtis Endycott watch over the herd the late cricketer Phillip Hughes built with his father. Photo by Samantha Townsend.

Greg Hughes, his daughter Megan and her partner Curtis Endycott watch over the herd the late cricketer Phillip Hughes built with his father. Photo by Samantha Townsend.

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The late cricketer Phillip Hughes' sister Megan has come back to the farm to help grow the business her brother and father Greg started.

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It started at Sydney Royal where father and son were sitting in the stands like they did every year inspecting the cattle.

Then a heifer from Ireland's Angus stud, Wagga Wagga, walked into the show ring and it was exactly what the late cricketer Phillip Hughes was looking for.

A decade later it's now father and daughter who are sitting in the stands sourcing the best genetics they can to carry on Phillip's legacy - Four 0 Eight Angus.

"Cricket was Phillip's passion but cattle and farming is his legacy," Megan Hughes said.

"The last few years have been long for us but now we have a new lease in life."

Standing in the rye planted paddocks at their property on the outskirts of Macksville, Greg Hughes, his daughter Megan and her partner Curtis Endycott watch over the herd Phillip built with his father.

"No matter what happened we were always going to keep this going," Greg Hughes said.

Megan, 24, has returned back to the farm from Sydney to help grow the business while still studying a business management degree.

"It makes me proud to see Megan part of the business, she is really into genetics and has a good eye for cattle," he said.

They talk about what is very much a family business where Mr Hughes' wife Virginia and son Jason are also involved.

"We make every decision together as a family," Mr Hughes said.

"Jason still lives in Sydney but he knows everything we do, he's always on the phone when we are bull sales saying 'how come you got that?'."

The stud is based off Ireland genetics but in the last six months, they have been "branching out" into other genetics including Raff Angus, King Island.

They also purchased a Yamba Angus heifer at Sydney Royal last year for $6000 and bought a bull from Booragul Angus in May.

The Hughes now have 60 stud cows, in which a majority were artificially inseminated by Ireland bulls and industry sires.

They hope to expand to 90 after purchasing an additional 40 hectare block taking the total of land farmed to113ha.

Eventually they want offer 30 to 40 bulls a year - up from the 20 to 25 they are currently selling.

The Hughes did embryo last year with three cows and have another three lined up to enhance their herd.

They are also trading commercial steers, which they grow out 350 to 400kg to sell privately.

"Most of our clients are weaner producers, which is typical of our area, we try to breed animals to suit the unique north coast industry," he said.

Like everywhere, it's been a tough season but they managed to plant 20haof winter crops using a mix of hogan and Italian rye.

They supplement with hay to keep the younger bulls in working condition and for the first time they will plant summer crops of forage sorghum.

"We are doing that to push our production so we have the bulls on high quality feed 10 months of the year," he said.

When asked if showing at Sydney Royal was the ultimate goal, there was silence. Then Mr Hughes said: 'we will get there one day'. He pictures that day surrounded by his family.

"It will complete the dream that we started," he said.

Four 0 Eight Noble N8 went under the hammer for $5600.

Four 0 Eight Noble N8 went under the hammer for $5600.

Hughes' bull hits $5600 at Kempsey

Despite the tough seasonal conditions the Hughes family have seen success in the sale and show ring.

Their bull Four 0 Eight Noble N8, whose dam Ireland Vicky E26 was the second heifer the late Phillip Hughes purchased in Sydney, recently topped Kempsey Stock and Land's bull sale at $5600.

It was sold to his neighbour Tom Peterkin from Macksville. At the same sale the Hughes family sold all but one of their six bulls to average $4770.

"On the coast the general bull range is $3000 and $6000 so we are careful we don't over capitalise for what our market is," Greg Hughes said.

Meanwhile they picked up supreme female exhibit at Kempsey Show this year.

"It cements what we are doing and it's nice to know you are breeding good bulls and females," he said.

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