Irish Moiled classification workshop

Head Classifier of Holstein UK - Meurig James with Irish Moiled Society Chairman Robert Boyle.
Head Classifier of Holstein UK - Meurig James with Irish Moiled Society Chairman Robert Boyle.

The Irish Moiled Cattle Society (IMCS) launched a Type Classification Scheme (TCS) in 2013, to try and accelerate ‘breed progress’ within herds and in turn improve the overall population of Irish Moiled cattle.

The TCS is a voluntary scheme open to all members to have, at a fee, their cattle inspected by an independent professional classifier who will assign each animal assessed with a score out of 100.

The final score, together with the ranking, either Poor, Fair, Good, Very Good or Excellent, will be automatically appended to the end of the animal’s name and made visible on the pedigree certificate.

The four main categories assessed by the classifiers are Body Conformation, Breed Character, Udder and Legs and Feet. The overall final score depends on the composited scores assigned to each category. If an animal is weak in one or more categories, the overall final score will be lower accordingly. The score given to each category is calculated from the functional and linear traits associated with that category.

The scores of each linear trait are typed into a hand-held ‘computer’ and a software programme then calculates the final overall score, assigning the correct weighting of points to each category.

After three years of launching the TCS, the IMCS are pleased to announce around 250 Irish Moiled cattle have been Type Classified by their members, around 50% of all classified cattle scoring either VG or EX.

Over the past four years there has been lots of liaising between the IMCS and Holstein UK, including a series of workshops, to implement the scheme and for some tweaking of the system along the way to perfect the cattle assessment.

The latest workshop was held at the farm of Society Chairperson, Robert Boyle of Millisle with the Board of Directors and head classifier of Holstein UK, Meurig James in attendance.

A worthwhile discussion was had and thanks to Meurig James and Robert Boyle for hosting the workshop.

The computer software programme has now been set for the Irish Moiled’s so that 30% of the total points are assigned to the legs and feet, 25% to the Body conformation, a further 25% to Breed/Beef Character and the final 20% of the total points to the udder.

The importance of Body Conformation in the Irish Moiled, which were once well known as a dual-purpose breed, has never been greater, especially when competing alongside the other main beef breeds at Balmoral Show. Irish Moiled breeders from all over Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland are once again heading to the Balmoral Showgrounds to showcase the cream of their stock.

Anyone wishing to find out more about the breed can watch the breed classes which will be held at 10am on Wednesday, 10th May, with judging in the very capable hands of Mark McConnell from Castlefinn, Co. Donegal, owner of the well renown Macmann Herd of Irish Moiled Cattle or visit the breeders at the cattle lines.