A Sizzling Day for Irish Moileds
On the (unseasonally) sunny day of Monday 30th July, Irish Moiled Breeders and enthusiasts travelled from all corners of The British Isles to the farm of Miss Valerie Orr of Ballygowan, Co. Down, home of the Knowehead Herd of Irish Moiled Cattle for a BBQ, classification workshop and to see the new Breed Standard. Coinciding with all this the Irish Moiled Cattle Society (IMCS) also held its Annual General Meeting (AGM). Breeders travelled from as far as Scotland, England and Republic of Ireland to attend this event which proved to be one of the largest events the society has ever held.
Directors discussing classification in an afternoon workshop and Mr John Westaway classifying 2nd calver Knowehead Lily
The event kicked off with a BBQ, all who were present were treated to Irish Moiled burgers with all the trimmings and a choice of delicious desserts! It was a great opportunity for Irish Moiled Breeders to meet one another or catch up with old friends and to view the Knowehead herd at their leisure. Attention was then turned to the topic for the evening…'Classification Scoring of Irish Moiled Cattle'.
Mr John Westaway from Devon, recently retired from Holstein UK was invited to talk to members on Classification Scoring, which the IMCS is considering in the future introducing to its breed. This follows on from the development of a new Breed Standard which was also launched at the event. The new Breed Standard was put together by Mr Nigel Edwards (IMCS Director) and is a much more detailed document than any of the previous Breed Standards. It is a fully illustrated, comprehensive guide to judging an Irish Moiled covering all characteristics.
John Westaway explaining the classification system of Irish Moileds and members enjoying the Bbq.
Official Classification of individual animals is now seen by the IMCS as the natural progression to the new Breed Standard. The Society is fortunate to be in the situation to be no longer solely focused on the preservation of numbers of Irish Moiled cattle, but can now also try to encourage an improvement of quality within the breed. 'By building up a database of scored cows, it will be possible to identify consistently high scoring cow-families. It is these high scoring cow-families that future stock bulls should be bred from in order to advance the breed even further' says Chris Ball, IMCS Director. Over the last couple of decades the focus was on increasing the numbers of this rare breed of cattle and decreasing the inbreeding co-efficient of the breed, however as numbers have increased, the genetic pool is hoped to be large enough now that such a tactic of using bulls out of high scoring cow-families will have little or no adverse effect to the progress made in decreasing the inbreeding co-efficient.
A packed house for the AGM and Albert Baxter, Newtownstewart, Chris Ball, Staffordshire and Nic O'Connell, Hampshire enjoying the BBQ.
Several animals from the Knowehead herd where used to demonstrate the break-down of Classifying, notably a young (second calver) cow named Knowehead Lily scored 84 points (VG) under the proposed scoring system. The workshop has been an introduction on Classifying to the breed but it is still a work in progress, however, the workshop proved a great success in informing our members on how it can be implemented and the benefits it could bring to the breed.
The evening concluded with the society's AGM. The Society would like to thank the retiring directors, Alex McCall (NI), James Brennan (ROI) and Pat Melvin (ROI) for their contribution during their time as directors and would like to wish new directors, Helen Kelly (ROI), Seamus Holmes (ROI) and Victor Campbell (NI) well in their new roles. Thanks must also go to all those who contributed to the evening with over £250 being raised to be split between Northern Ireland Cancer Fund for Children and IMCS funds.