Murray Hunt: Perspective from Both Sides of the Fence


It’s our pleasure to welcome Murray Hunt to the Bullvine Team. Murray brings a wealth of experience from both the dairy industry side as well as the breeder sides of the fence. Ask Murray what success is in the dairy industry and he will instantly flash a smile because he has seen it up close and from both sides of the fence. The family farm, which is approaching its 100th Anniversary, is where he first fell in love with dairying, first at the heels of his grandfather Allen Humphrey and then working with his parents Sterling and Irene Hunt.  Almost three decades with Holstein Canada and the Canadian Association of animal breeders never separated him from his hands on appreciation of cattle at Huntsdale Holsteins.

He Loves Those Cows

“There’s an advantage to spending your working career doing what is closest to your heart.” Murray reports.  As he warms to the topic he enthuses that “Look at the major advancements we have seen in milk production and conformation, especially udders in Holstein cattle.  They were known for deep udders and low butterfat. They’ve certainly come a long way.” Years of working with the Holstein Canada Classification program support his conclusions. “And there is still great potential in working on feet.”  Justifiably proud of the Master Breeder shield earned by Huntsdale, Murray continues to breed to send sires into A.I. both in Canada and one in abroad. “Developing a member of the Gypsy Grand cow family has been good for Huntsdale.”

Cow Sense Meets Cow Science

Murray earned both his B.Sc. and M.Sc. at Guelph University.  His Master’s thesis was entitled, “An A.I. Breeding Schemes” and included the “Dollar Difference Guide” which was the precursor to the Canadian LPI system.  Hunt’s Masters was implemented by A.I. organizations that went from sampling less than 50 bulls per year to over 400.

(Not) The Same Old Story

Despite his long history with farming and farmer organizations, he is not reluctant to move forward.  “Success can be directly linked to your willingness to change.” Says Murray even though he adds, “All change is not good but we have to research the possibilities and then select what appears to be the best move in a forward direction.” If he himself was stuck in the past, he might be unwilling to see genomics moving the industry away from a purely pedigree analysis of animals.  “On the contrary!” he exclaims, “It’s wonderful to move to the next stage where we don’t have the cost and delays of proving sires that don’t have a chance of coming through as plus sires!” This leads to the topic of organizations and Hunt firmly believes that the future of the cattle breeding industry will see fewer producer organizations. “This is predictable from a purely financial point of view and will evolve with the breeder priorities, provided we can move beyond the past, be objective and expand our vision for the future.”

Look to the Horizon

“We need to forge our path to the horizon and not just to the end of our own laneway!” insists Murray who notes that “The ones who move forward with change are the ones who stay with the (cattle) industry and those who don’t will exit the industry.” He is not upset about this but does add, “Every generation that survives on the farm moves ahead with technology. It could be in your fully equipped office or the method you use for milking. For some it’s new ways to grow crops and mechanized ways to feed them.”  He strongly feels that it is “up to dairy breeders and industry leaders to trust the system, improve the system and use the system to produce a continually better product.”

The Bullvine Bottom Line

For Murray Hunt there is no final one-size-fits-all answer.  “If it was that easy, there would be no challenge and no opportunity. We all want to use what we know to prove our faith in the potential of Holstein cattle.  These are exciting times for genetics, technology and the future of the dairy business. It’s no time to find yourself sitting on the fence!”

Join us in welcoming Murray to the Bullvine team and we are excited about the great insights he will bring to the Bullvine.


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