Square Meaters are a home grown success story which owes its origins to Australia’s first developed beef breed and its future to the pursuit of new levels of efficiency in premium beef production. Despite their smaller stature, they have excellent muscling and perform well in steer and carcase competitions. Square Meaters are usually silver or grey in colour with dark hooves and a dark skin that reduces the chance of eye cancer and sunburned udders. The breed is noted for its good temperament, early maturity and easy-care attributes, which makes them a popular breed of cattle for smaller farms.
The story of Square Meaters actually began early in the 20th century when a line of grey calves were born at the Sutherland family’s Thologolong property in the Upper Murray. Thanks to the determination of Ena Sutherland and her daughter-in-law Helen, these curious grey cattle which were descended from a roan shorthorn cow and a series of different Angus bulls, were line-bred rather than slaughtered. Over time they earned a reputation for their quick growth, superior feed conversion and carcass merit. In the early 1960’s the Murray Grey Beef Cattle Society was formed to register the cattle and to administer the breed.
In the early 1990’s a Mr Pisaturo, realised that the arrival of European breeds of cattle in the 1970’s and 1980’s had caused calving, fertility and temperament issues to the Australian cattle industry. He saw a need for fast growing, well muscled, and importantly, an early maturing breed. Through meticulous selection of older style pre-1970’s Murray Grey bulls and females, he produced the world’s first Square Meaters calves at his Mandalong Stud in 1994.
The breed is now well established across Australia with outstanding achievements in steer and carcass competitions and proven success in commercial operations. Square Meaters are also gaining a foothold in the United States due to their ability to finish off grass and be grown to market specifications with minimal chemical or veterinary inputs.
The above information is derived from the Square Meaters Cattle Association web site.