This is advertiser content for Booroomooka Angus.
THE story of Booroomooka Angus stud is founded in Australia's history. The current principals, Hugh and Sinclair Munro, are the fourth and fifth generation of the family to farm at Keera, Bingara, NSW.
The Munro family has owned the Keera property since 1858. Successive generations have contributed to developing Angus cattle as a staple feature of the Australian landscape.
The Booroomooka Angus stud was founded in 1926, by Gordon Munro, respectively father and grandfather of Hugh and Sinclair.
The family's commitment extends beyond their own business, contributing significant amounts of time to helping develop the Angus breed industry in Australia.
Hugh and his father, the late Gordon Munro, are past members and presidents of the board of directors of Angus Australia. Sinclair is a past president of the NSW state committee and currently contributes on a technical committee for Angus Australia.
These days, Hugh and Juliet Munro manage a high performing 800-breeder commercial Angus herd on the family property, Glenroy. The focus of this enterprise is to breed feeder steers, selling to feedlots that focus on high quality beef markets.
Selected females are also sold to the commercial industry for breeding purposes. The commercial herd also enables the Munros to analyse the performance of Booroomooka bloodlines, particularly measuring growth and marbling.
"The Glenroy commercial herd has been used as a co-operator in the Angus Sire Benchmarking Program, one of the leading research and development projects in the Australian beef industry," Sinclair said.
An aim of the ASBP is to build a reference population of modern Angus cattle, as breeders take advantage of genomic technologies to improve analysis of performance values, genotype their animals and accurately record pedigrees.
Sinclair Munro and his wife Jo manage the stud's 1050-cow self-replacing breeding herd at Keera.
Joining is predominantly synchronised artificial insemination, using Booroomooka bulls and other leading Australian bulls. There is also a regular infusion of bloodlines from North American and New Zealand sires.
"The reliability of Australian Angus sires is very, very good.
"But it's also important to select from a wide gene pool."
Every female is assessed pre-joining, and classing is a continual process, led by Sinclair.
"I like to see what's working in the herd," he said.
"To do that, it's important to get out in the paddock and into the stockyard, look at and assess each individual heifer and cow. Our cows are the building block of our herd. For 94 years, we've been building a highly resilient, fertile cow herd."
All joined females are pregnancy scanned. Within two weeks of weaning, cows are weighed for mature cow weight, condition scored and measured for height.
"We are building a data base to better understand on farm maternal efficiency. "
Pre-joining assessment includes temperament, structure and do-ability, as well as soundness. Heifers are initially assessed around 400-day age to be joined as yearlings and calve as two-year-olds. Initially the yearlings and two-year-olds are kept in age groups. After weaning their first calves, heifers join with the cows, which are run under strict commercial conditions, in large mob sizes, on hilly country at Keera.
"We collect huge amounts of data, from cattle in large contemporary groups so genetic evaluation is more reliable," Sinclair said.
"Calves are weighed at birth, weaning and as yearlings. Calving down at Keera allows large mobs of cattle to be run together. The cattle also have to prove themselves in similar to harsher conditions to the country where our customers farm. The Booroomooka cattle have a reputation to thrive in many environments."
After weaning, bull calves remain on Keera for six to 10 weeks, then they're grown out at Glen Park.
Glen Park and Glenroy have some centre pivot irrigation, to grow silage, lucerne and forage oats.
"This helps to provide a consistent quality and supply of bulls to meet the annual demand from customers," Sinclair said.
"We sell the bulls ready-to-work on sale day."
The best of the Booroomooka bulls - about 200 - are sold at an annual bull sale held in August. Bulls are sold at 20 to 24 months, with full EBVs and a quality assured pedigree.
"They're quality assured because we stand by what we breed," Sinclair said.
"We're always gauging the commercial reality of the industry and are proud to say we've been doing the right thing continuously for the Angus industry and our customers. We're breeding bulls based on our two key principles of integrity and commitment. We need to produce cattle that satisfy our customer requirements. We aim to provide them with a quality choice of bulls."
Independent assessments of the Booroomooka bulls are part of quality assurance for the stud. Liam Cardile, structurally assesses the bulls. Veterinarian, Dr Ben Gardiner, examines the bulls for breeding soundness. Roger Evans, of Bovine Scanning, uses ultrasound to scan, among other traits, intramuscular fat for marbling percentage, the eye muscle area and score the fat depth at P8 (rump).
"All our data is submitted to Breedplan and gives us and our customers a better understanding of the genetic merit of the bulls for traits such as calving ease, growth, fertility, carcase quality and yield, temperament and structural soundness. We also have a big collection of 19 years of DNA samples of our animals. We're using genomics to increase the reliability of our breeding values, and as a tool to verify assurance of our pedigrees."
The highest grossing Boomoorooka bull - Booroomooka Frankel F510 - was sold in 2012, for $65,000. In 2017, the stud had its biggest sale, selling 227 bulls and grossing $2.19 million.
"In the past 12 months, the seasonal conditions have been very challenging for many of us. However our long-term commitment to the industry remains."
This is advertiser content for Booroomooka Angus.