Irish Moiled Cattle Society breeders day and farm walk at Coxhill Farm

Derek Steen shows visitors around his Ballylinney herd of Irish Moileds
Derek Steen shows visitors around his Ballylinney herd of Irish Moileds

The Irish Moiled Cattle Society held a breeder’s day and farm walk on August 24 at Coxhill Farm, situated in the beautiful countryside close to Moffat in Scotland, the home of a top quality herd of Irish Moiled cattle owned by Derek and Cindy Steen.

Derek, who is originally from Northern Ireland, moved to mainland Britain in 1995.

A number of Irish Moiled Cattle Society representatives  on Society Stand at the farm of Derek and Cindy Steen

A number of Irish Moiled Cattle Society representatives on Society Stand at the farm of Derek and Cindy Steen

The Ballylinney Irish Moiled herd was founded in 2010 when Derek and Cindy selected their foundation stock from several of the top herds of Irish Moiled cattle in Great Britain, Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland, handpicking elite cattle from the very best cow families they could find. Derek and Cindy also put a lot of emphasis on selecting their stock sires, sourcing the very best bulls possible. Their thoughts are that it is important to try and produce animals that are wanted by both commercial and pedigree breeders. Alongside their other successful farming enterprises, the Irish Moiled herd remain firmly at the heart of the farm.

The event gave all Irish Moiled breeders the opportunity to view this excellent herd of Irish Moiled cattle and learn management tips and discuss herd improvement strategies. Some potential new breeders attended to learn about the breed.

There was the opportunity to take part in a couple of competitions, a stock judging competition of both a group of Irish Moiled heifers and a group of Kerry Hill sheep which was won by Dougie Crew from Boreland.

The other competition was ‘Guess the combined weight of two young homebred bulls’ which was won by Wallace Donnan from Dumfries.

Ballylinney herd of Irish Moileds in Moffat, Scotland

Ballylinney herd of Irish Moileds in Moffat, Scotland

The first of three speakers was Dan Bull, a huge pedigree cattle enthusiast with a wealth of experience in several cattle breeds. Dan praised the Moilie as a fantastically efficient suckler cow, an excellent converter of rough grazing to produce an abundance of milk to rear a good calf. Dan’s feedback of the eating qualities of Irish Moilie beef is that it is rich in taste, succulent with a buttery texture due to the marbling which makes Irish Moilie beef a unique product that is sought after.

The second of the speakers was Ewan Penny, a local vet from Ark Veterinary Centre, Lockerbie, who brought along a pelvimeter, an implement which is used for measuring the internal pelvis area of heifers, explaining how it is used and why more and more farmers are using it in order to select females with a larger pelvis area, hence breeding females with better calving ability ultimately leading to less problems at calving time.

The third speaker was Nigel Edwards, who is the Honorary Registrar of the Irish Moiled Cattle Society and is also involved in the Society’s breed development group. The Society is working very hard towards securing a healthy future for the breed and very much supports breed development.

Nigel highlighted the advancements the breed has made over this past ten years to make available data and records to help breeders with bull selection such as genomic testing through the ICBF in Republic of Ireland, weanling bull calf weight recording and the type classification system.

Ballylinney herd of Irish Moileds in Moffat, Scotland

Ballylinney herd of Irish Moileds in Moffat, Scotland

The Society circulates to breeders as much information and advice as possible on breed improvement in traits such as growth rate and other carcass traits whilst also getting the message across that the Moilie needs to remain as an easy kept, efficient suckler cow, the weight of a mature ‘working’ cow should not exceed 600kg. Breeders should maintain traits in the breed such as the excellent fertility and good milk production by selecting bulls out of regular breeding cows with plenty of milk.

The chairperson of the Irish Moiled Cattle Society, Brian O’Kane, thanked Derek and Cindy for hosting the farm walk and for the tremendous tea. Brian also thanked Keith, Doreen, Dan, Linda and Tommy for assisting Derek and Cindy on the day. Brian also expressed his gratitude to everyone for attending, the response from everyone during the event was that it was most definitely beneficial to all those who attended, not just to new breeders but to everyone. Derek and Cindy held a raffle with a total sum of £160 being raised to go to the Macmillan Cancer Support.

Ballylinney herd of Irish Moileds in Moffat, Scotland

Ballylinney herd of Irish Moileds in Moffat, Scotland

Ballylinney herd of Irish Moileds in Moffat, Scotland

Ballylinney herd of Irish Moileds in Moffat, Scotland

Derek and Cindy Steen being thanked by Brian O'Kane, Irish Moiled Society Chairman, for hosting farmwalk

Derek and Cindy Steen being thanked by Brian O'Kane, Irish Moiled Society Chairman, for hosting farmwalk

A number of visitors viewing the Ballylinney Herd at Moffat in Scotland

A number of visitors viewing the Ballylinney Herd at Moffat in Scotland