The foundations of the Merrylea herd were laid in 1966 when James’ grandfather, Alister McKerchar, established the Heatherleigh herd with cows from Maungahina and Bushy Downs, and the very good bull Bushy Downs N14. Further cows were added from Sheanlarich, Waiau and Wai-Iti. In 1978 Eoin started the Merrylea herd with Heatherleigh and Maungahina females. The first polled bull Kirkstyle Tarzan was purchased in 1980 and polled cows purchased from Braxton, Highland, Freelance, Blarich and Vementry over the years. 1984 Merrylea Diplomat was Champion Bull at the National Hereford Sale – now AgInnovation – and purchased by Maungahina Stud.
Merrylea continues to rank among New Zealand’s leading herds, gaining Champion Super Sire at 2017 Beef Expo with Merrylea Flash, as well as Best Two Entries with Flash and Merrylea Falcon. Merrylea Flash went on to sell for $20,000 to Haldon Station in the Mackenzie.
We also acheived Reserve Champion South Island Super Sire 2009, 2010 and 2011, with 2011’s entry, Merrylea 1467, sold for $10,000 to Lake Station and Martin Family studs.
Bulls used in recent years include:
- Keelryn Ferrari 1311
- Merrylea Declaration
- Okawa Marshall 1103, purchased in 2013 for $23,000, with semen sold to Koanui Hereford Stud
- Capethorne 1034, purchased for $16,000 in 2012
- Merrylea Alchemy
- Monymusk Absolute – purchased for $13,000
- Merrylea 1134
- Te Puna Lenny – purchased at Beef Expo for $12,500
- Koanui Universal 9262
- Craigmore Knighthood
- Grassmere Ricardo
- Merrylea 1034
- Okawa Bourke
- Merrylea 785
- Capethorne 0815 – 2010 South Island Super Sire Champion
- as well as yearling home-bred sires used over our heifers