Okura Integrity, bred by Hukerenui couple Luke and Lyna Beehre, has been admitted to the LIC's Hall of Fame in recognition of his profound influence on the profitability of New Zealand dairy farming and the economy.

The accolade was announced to some of the country's top bull breeders who gathered in Hamilton for LIC's 2019 Breeders' Day, and annual event for an exclusive group of farmers who supplied a bull calf to the farmer-owned co-operative, and which went on to form part of the elite teams of artificial breeding bulls, the year before.

LIC's General Manager of NZ Markets, Malcolm Ellis, said although the event was an annual, induction to the Hall of Fame was not.

"For a bull to be inducted into the Hall of Fame he needs to have had a significant influence on the dairy industry by producing genetically superior female offspring that farmers want to milk," he said.

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"Inductees do not only excel through the performance of their own progeny, but also through the contribution of their sons. There was no doubt in our minds that Integrity has met both of these criteria with ease."

Integrity was first made commercially available to the country's dairy farmers as a young bull in 2011, after his ability to sire high-quality dairy cows was predicted using genomic science, an expectation that proved to be well-founded when information from his first crop of milking daughters became available.

Luke and Lyna Beehre, breeders of Okura Integrity.
Luke and Lyna Beehre, breeders of Okura Integrity.

"His stats were remarkable, and he continued to be selected to the Premier Sires teams as a daughter-proven bull," Mr Ellis said, adding that he was likely to become the first bull of any breed to achieve eight years in Premier Sires, after being preliminarily selected for 2019.

He would also be the first a Hall of Fame inductee to be part of a current Premier Sires team.

"For most bulls the Hall of Fame honour is received posthumously, as the quality of a bull's offspring and its peak influence on the dairy industry is often reached after the bull is no longer with us," he added.

With a BW of 243, outstanding capacity and very strong udder-breeding values, Integrity is still at the top of his game.

"He's also proven to be an exceptional sire of sons. It's likely that three of his sons will join him in this year's Premier Sires Daughter-Proven team. He really is one of a kind."

Meanwhile Mr and Mrs Beehre's Okura Stud has produced 16 bulls that have gone on to become part of LIC's Premier Sires teams, but this was the first to be inducted to the Hall of Fame.

"Getting an Okura bull into the Hall of Fame has always been a dream of ours. Watching Integrity get his own proof, and seeing his sons come through the ranks, allowed me to hope he might get there one day," Mrs Beehre said.

"Breeding a bull that has added so much value to individual dairy businesses, and our industry, is a great feeling. We're very excited."

Integrity, with 35,889 daughters from 229,300 inseminations, and with 31 sons and 72 grandsons in the artificial breeding industry, was the 57th Hall of Fame inductee, and the 27th Jersey.