FIVE generations of Munros have bred cattle in the Bingara, NSW, district, and the business continues to grow.
Keera was originally a Shorthorn property, until Hugh Munro's grandfather – also Hugh – started using Angus bulls over the Shorthorns.
"I think it was the carcase quality that swayed my predecessors," Mr Munro said.
The stud was established in 1926 by Mr Munro’s father Gordon, who spent plenty of time in the show ring as it was the only method of assessment at the time.
With the introduction of Breedplan, a “revolutionary tool for the industry”, there was no need to keep up the hard work of showing, and the family embraced Breedplan.
“Angus breeders have done a wonderful job in developing the breed and embracing the technology of Breedplan," he said.
"In 1998 our average for 600-day weight was +59, and in 2007 it was +106. Our IMF was 0.4, and now it's 1.7. Genetic improvement has been quicker in the Angus breed because of the willingness to take up Breedplan."
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Another revolutionary tool has been fixed-time artificial insemination.
"We've been using AI since the 1970s but in the early days we spent a lot of time observing the cows for when they were coming in season. Now we can synchronise all 200 cows to come on one day and they're all inseminated that day."
With that technology, what started as a small herd of 20 cows has grown to about 1100 stud females, with the stud offering more than 200 bulls at its annual sale and selling a further 100 privately.
The stud is run alongside a commercial herd of 600 cows at Glenroy, where Mr Munro and his wife Juliet live.
“We feel that it's good to have a commercial herd to keep abreast of what's going on in the industry,” he said.
The high demand for Angus genetics and Angus beef over the past 20 years is a big change from the start, when Angus cattle were referred to as “little black pigs”.
”There’s been a strong swing to Angus, and I think that original swing came when the Japanese wanted Angus cattle for their carcase attributes.
“The early feedlots were paying a premium for that export market, and because the cattle performed well in the early days of the lotfeeding industry, those premiums have continued.”
The next generation at Keera
THE Munros haven't just bred cattle, with both Gordon and Hugh being president of Angus Australia, and Hugh's grandmother Grace was a founder of the CWA.
Hugh’s son Sinclair has continued the family’s representation in the Angus breed, with positions on the NSW State Angus committee and the Breedplan consultative committee.
Sinclair and his wife Jo have been running the stud for the past 15 years, after studying agricultural economics at the University of Sydney and working at Whyalla feedlot at Texas, on the Queensland border.
"He's a very hardworking lad and the stud just keeps growing under him," Mr Munro said.
"He's keeping up with the technology and he's very passionate about the breed.”
Under Sinclair’s management, the stud has had incredible results from its on-property sales.
At last year’s sale, all 217 bulls sold, an impressive effort considering the widespread drought across NSW and Queensland that affected many other sales.
The sale topped at $28,000 and averaged $9036.
In 2017, the stud sold 217 bulls averaging $9656, and in 2016, 220 bulls sold for an average of $9422.
The stud’s record high of $65,000 was set by Booroomooka Frankel F510 in 2012.
“Frankel was one of the best bulls we’ve ever bred and he’s been widely used in the breed,” Mr Munro said.
“With the way the bull sales have been going, it's very satisfying for all the work that Sinclair has done.
“We've got a very good and loyal base of buyers, and many of them are volume buyers who have been supporting us for years.”