Guidance notes for the new Environmental Farming Scheme (EFS) have just been released and the scheme includes a headage payment for Irish Moiled cattle under the Native Traditional Breed Stand-alone option.
Pedigree, registered Irish Moiled females aged six months or over on 1st January in the claim year will qualify for the headage payment.
The aim of the breed’s inclusion in the scheme is to help ensure the survival of the Irish Moiled breed, an indigenous cattle breed to Northern Ireland and in matter of fact the Irish Moiled cattle breed is the only surviving domestic livestock native to Northern Ireland.
The breed was popular throughout Ireland in the 1800s and early 1900s until the breed started to decline in the 1950s due to the importation of several other more specialised breeds.
In 1979 there were only two herds with 30 purebred Irish Moiled cattle left in the world.
Revival of the breed in the 1980s was mainly due to the Irish Moiled Cattle Society, the Rare Breeds Survival Trust and the last two remaining breeders who were both located in Northern Ireland.
Although the breed is still considered rare, today numbers are increasing year on year and the breed is now classified as category 4 (at risk) on the Rare Breed Survival Trust watch-list compared with category 1 (critical) in the early 2000s.
The renewed interest in this native breed to Northern Ireland is due to the Irish Moiled not only being an economical, easy kept auckling cow but they are also an excellent choice for conservational grazing.
They are ideally suited to marginal land of poor quality pastures where they will thrive and produce ample milk to rear a good quality calf.
They are of medium sized and therefore poach the ground minimally, they have a good foraging ability and are tremendously hardy therefore they can be outwintered.
They are naturally polled, docile and they are highly fertile, breeding from a young age, producing a calf every year up to the age of 15/16 years, or more, calving on their own.
A guide to the Environmental Farming Scheme (EFS) can be obtained from the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs or visit www.daera-ni.gov.uk.
The scheme is due to open at the end of February 2017.
Full details of the Scheme and how to apply will be published on the DAERA website in advance of the EFS opening.
Anyone wishing to find out more about the Irish Moiled breed or to receive an information pack or breeders list, please contact the breed secretary Gillian Steele either on 07842185008 or firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the website on www.irishmoiledcattlesociety.com.