How long have you been in the industry: since 1996
Farming generation: 1st generation
Land size: 396 acres
Cows milked: 170
Important cow families: Princess Maye Lotto
Current Bull Team: Moovin, Jagger
Important traits: Udders
First EX cow: Norinda Horace Connie the 2nd
South West Victorian breeder Richard Hull of Eclipse Genetics is the newest member to be named Master Breeder.
A city boy who grew up in Perth, WA, Richard is uncommonly a first-generation dairy farmer. It all began when he was 11 years old, says Richard.
“Mum and Dad were city people and it was only through spending time at my Uncle’s dairy farm that I found my passion for cows” says Mr Hull.
Following his first visit, Richard spent his school holidays at his Uncle’s farm becoming interested in cow pedigrees, herd recording and also paying close attention to milk production and ABVs.
He studied Agriculture Science at the University of Western Australia and in his final year in 1995, he enrolled himself in an artificial insemination (AI) course.
“It blew me away that by undertaking ET, you were able to get more calves out of the best cows. That’s when I took the next steps in my career and today, I have my own ET business” says Richard.
He completed his degree, graduating with honours in Animal Genetics, followed by a placement with Genetics Australia where Mr Hull worked side by side with their vet on embryo programs.
In 1996 he purchased 5 embryos by Shotime from Glomar Southwind Lucky (All Australian 2 year old) with money he earned milking cows at $25 a milking. These embryos resulted in 2 females which were the first animals that Mr Hull flushed and transferred embryos from.
The first embryo calf born was Eclipse Donor Lotto that via Informer, was the dam of Eclipse Shottle Lotto EX (2012 IDW Intermediate Champion). Lotto via Let It Snow and Archrival is the dam of Eclipse Jordy Lotto VG 87 and Mr Hull feels she is the best uddered and balanced show cow he has bred.
He says winning the Master Breeder award was never a goal but is thrilled to receive it.
“I’ve accumulated points through classification and star brood awards and bred 573 VGs and 51 EXs so it’s great to win the award” says Mr Hull.
Eclipse Genetics breeding program is heavily centred on genomic testing which has been the principal element to his breeding success.
“We identify the best genomic animals, for udders and daughter pregnancy rate and then join those to the best-uddered bulls with the best daughter pregnancy rate” says Richard.
He reveals using genetic science for breeding and adopting genomic testing technology has helped enormously in reaching his breeding goals.
“I’ve owned multiple heifers with genomic udder scores of 2.5 or more and they calve-in with outstanding udders and breed great udders to their progeny. I own Eclipse Mirand Princess who is ranked the number one bred carrier polled uddered heifer in the world! There’s a lot of goodness that’s come out of it” says Richard.
Eclipse Genetics has been among the first in Australia to acquire partnership deals with sexing technologies in the US and has now obtained 8 agreements.
Richard says “at the end of the day that speaks for itself. That’s massive. One of my bulls, the Perennial bull is the highest rated uddered bull they’ve got in their team at the moment”.
He mentions an important aspect of the breeding business is to market cows by taking good photos.
Richard says “the world is changing and people are moving to an online system where people are able to see cows from all over the world… to have photos of your cows looking good is great promotion”.
Mr Hull is no stranger to selling prize winning cows with many who have gone on to win their classes in shows such as the Junior 2 at Dairy Week, the Senior 2 at the Winter Fair and the 4 year old in milk and 6 year old at International Dairy Week.
His breeding success has also contributed ‘countless value adding aspects’ to his business.
“If you breed great cows, you attract a lot of interest! People are always after great genetics and I often get asked to sell embryos too.” says Mr Hull.
Over the last 4 years, Eclipse Genetics has achieved some of the highest prices in the country per head, with its last 4 sales averaging $4,200 to $5,600.
On 18th May this year over 150 registered Holsteins will be included in the latest Eclipse Genetics sale, with Richard seeing some great opportunities for purchasers to get their hands on some top quality genetics and animals, after which he plans on winding
down his breeding program to concentrate solely on his embryo transfer business.
“If you want some embryo work done, give us a call” laughs Mr Hull.
Please join us in congratulating Richard Hull on his outstanding achievement and contribution to the Holstein breed.