The Munro family have established a prime lamb, sheep and wool business near Coolamon based on quality and long-term loyalty.
Their sheep mix includes Merinos, Border Leicesters and Poll Dorsets with the genetics for all three breeds sourced from the same studs for many decades.
The loyalty doesn’t stop there. Tim Drum, Riverina Livestock, has been making decisions about where to best sell their stock for many years.
Neil Munro operates the sheep and cropping enterprise, M.W. Munro and Sons, based at “Marieholm”, south west of Coolamon, with his brother, Trevor, and Trevor’s son, Andrew (“Drew”).
Mr Munro said about half the property was cropped and the rest used for livestock.
They run about 2000, 19-micron Merinos ewes which are joined to Border Leicester rams for first-cross ewe and lamb production.
A portion of the ewes are retained each year for their own 1000-head first-cross ewe flock with the rest sold to fellow farmers. The first-cross wethers are either sold over the hook or through Wagga Wagga saleyards.
The first-cross ewes are joined to Poll Dorset rams for second-cross prime lambs which are eagerly sought by buyers and consumers.
The sheep enterprise starts with Merino ewes which have been sourced from the Smith family, Glenwood stud, Wellington, for close on 40 years.
In recent years the Munros have been buying Norman Smith’s culls along with ewes from another flock based on Glenwood bloodlines.
“They are beautiful ewes. We don’t breed any replacement ewes ourselves, it’s best to leave that to somebody else,” Neil Munro said.
Border Leicester rams have been sourced from Graham Grinter’s Retallack stud at Ariah Park for yonks.
“I’ve known Graham (Grinter) for a long time,” he said.
When Mr Munro left school his great uncle, Dick (R.H.) Blake, a member of a well-known Wagga livestock and stock agency family, gave him 30 Border Leicester ewes from his Forest Hill stud.
Mr Munro has kept the unregistered flock going with input from Retallack genetics for breeding his own rams.
“I’m pleased with our first-cross ewes, nobody who has bought them has been unhappy with their size or breeding.”
The first-cross ewes have been joined to Aberdeen Poll Dorset rams for “about 25 to 30 years”.
Mr Munro said rams from the Male family’s Aberdeen stud at Henty had good length and been doing a top job. He looks for rams with a sound frame and feet, a clean face (no stub horns) and not too broad in the shoulders (for lambing ease).
Stud horns on lambs were easily knocked off during yarding which left blood on their faces (not a good look in saleyards).
Mr Munro said the second-cross lambs produced the “nice chubby leg” in keen demand among consumers.
The Munros aim to have all their annual lamb drop gone before 12 months of age. Good seasons allowed turn-off at a younger age, often straight off their mothers.
This season has been tough but the Munros have been receiving regular small falls of rain that have kept their crops going.
Their wheat crops have achieved enough growth to allow grazing with 700 recently-weaned three- to four-month-old second-cross lambs in a bid to get them to market weights.