Richard McCulloch’s Overhill House Simmental herd from Armadale, West Lothian, hit the jackpot on Monday, producing the 46,000gns record priced Simmental bull at Stirling, but this West Lothian-based unit is relatively new to pedigree breeding.

Up until 2004, the herd was purely commercial, but Richard took a notion to this dual purpose red and white breed and he’s not looked back since with the farm now regularly securing top prices and prizes at various local and national events.

At United Auctions’ multi-breed bull sale in May, Richard and his right-hand stockman, Scott Gilmore produced a new sale high, selling Overhill House Neil for 16,000gns. Supreme champion at pre-sale show, Neil was also junior champion at the Stars of the Future event in 2022.



“Neil was always a really good bull and the Stars of the Future highlighted that as a young animal. Stars of the Future is a fantastic event for showcasing these youngsters before they hit the sale ring.”

“Stars is a great event for showing young stock and it’s also an excellent event for socialising and getting away from the farm.

“We have been to Stars for quite a few years now and have always had a good time showing. It also gives our two stockmen, Scott and Brian Wills a chance to showcase their hard work.”

Outwith showing, Richard sells bulls at Stirling in February, May and October and also at Carlisle. Earlier this year, he sold Overhill House McCoy, the pre-sale champion at Carlisle for 10,000gns

“We have consistently won red tickets at the last two to three bulls sales we have sold at so we must be doing something right,” he joked.

The farm spans 400ha with 80ha being rented. With four blocks of farmland and two steadings, they grow 130 acres of cereals, 35 acres of stubble neeps after the winter barley and 40 acres of kale used to finish sheep on. All crop is used on farm for feed.

Calving runs from March to June with 25 cows also calving in September. However, they have had to update their management to reduce the risk of pneumonia.

“We were getting more pneumonia in the calves with the damper weather, so we now get all the cattle outside as soon as possible to reduce the risks and it seems to be working.”

Cows are put to the bull between two and a half to three years depending on their size.



“We used to try and get them bulled at a younger age but they weren’t mature enough. We find waiting until they’ve grown a bit more works best for us.”

The herd is kept young with cows being sold once they reach eight years.

“You can get good high prices for them at eight/nine years of age and by selling them on, it allows fresh, new blood into the herd. The herd used to be much bigger but we thinned it down and made good use of the high market prices at the same time.”

Richard buys in one to two bulls every year, with one of the best to date being Pistyll Kingsman bought from the Francis family in Carmarthen, Wales for 26,000gns.

“Kingsman is still leaving us with tremendous stock, he was a worthwhile investment.”

Another was Denizes Lancelot for 30,000gns, and Corskie Lambe for 5550gns.



While the bulls are making their mark, Richard is also most impressed by the Simmental’s maternal traits and high milk production.

“Simmentals make excellent suckler cows which means we can put bulls away fat at £2000+ per head.”

He also believes the breed has improved immensely since the herd was established in 2004.

“The difference in the breed is night and day and with the Simmental improving so much, the future for the breed looks really promising.

“Simmentals are good working cows that do exactly what it says on the tin. The Simmental has turned into a real modern beast.”

Now that the autumn bull sales are past the next big thing on the Overhill House calendar is Stars of the Future.

This year the team has three calves going to Stars – two heifers Overhill House Nigela and Overhill House Nellie and one bull by the name of Overhill House Patrick.

Stars of the Future takes place at United Auctions Stirling on Saturday, November 11 with young handlers classes taking place the previous evening on Friday, November 10.