The breed Square Meaters is a new breed from Australia that was created in the 1990’s by Rick Pisaturo. Pisaturo was an experienced cattleman that researched and developed a breed of cattle that satisfied the domestic export trade in Australia.
The aim was to have cattle that would consistently produce a 260 to 300 kilogram vealer at eight to nine months of age, yielding a 140 to 160 kilogram carcass with even fat cover, good muscling and a high meat yield. The reasoning for the size in particular is that the trend from around the 80’s was for increasingly larger cattle, producing a larger beef yield which overall had an effect on the time it took for the animals to mature.
The Murray Grey breed was used to develop Square Meaters, stud Murray Grey females were selected with an emphasis on structure and muscling with a moderate frame and good milking ability, these were joined to selected Murray Grey sires.
The first Square Meaters calves were born at “Mandalong Park” in March 1994. Birth weights were between 14 to 22 kilograms with no calving problems experience. The ultimate aim was to have compact rather than miniature beef animals that can produce quality beef under commercial conditions, and come as close as possible to the 2 to 1 feed conversion ration that exists in today’s chicken industry. Doubling returns to producers through reduced costs of production, more efficient feed conversion, (one cow to four sheep) and a greater percentage of calves being ready to market at an early age, attracting premium prices.
Since being recognised as a separate breed in 1995, Square Meaters have had consistent success in major show interbreed competitions, carcass competitions and in the saleyards.
Square Meaters are phenotypically the same as a Murray Grey as it has come directly from this breed, so in colour it ranges from light grey and brown to average brown. The essential difference between Square Meaters and their ancestors is the height, Square meaters are shorter due to the developed decrease in leg length. Although this breed is shorter it is not a miniature breed.
A mature female will weigh around 450kg and be around 125cm tall. She will have a deep body with a good udder and produce calves at 20-30kg birth weight, with no calving difficultly, at 2 years of age. The young calves grow rapidly to achieve a live weight of 280-340 kg at 9-11 months of age. From only a few weeks of age onwards the calves have a characteristic ’rounded bum’ that is noticeable when comparing animals of other breeds at the same age.
Mature bulls weigh around 800kg plus at around 130cm high, again with a deep body on short legs. Despite the shortness of leg, Square Meater bulls can easily serve larger females in commercial crossbreeding programs.
The Square Meaters Cattle Association does have a height restriction on the registering of bulls. At 12 months of age bulls cannot be less than 103cm and not more than 113cm. This regulation is aimed at providing a safeguard against animals becoming too small or regressing back to taller/slower growing characteristics.
- Early maturing
- Moderate birth weights
- Quiet temperament
- High milking ability
- Strong muscling and superior fleshing
- Optimum, even fat cover