Irish Moiled Cattle Society


Go to content

The Breed

The Breed



The Irish Moiled is one of our most distinctive breeds of cattle native to Ireland and more specifically they are the only surviving domestic livestock native to Northern Ireland.

They are a hornless (polled) breed, red in colour and characteristically marked by a white line or 'finching' on the back and white under parts with red ears and red nose. But they can vary from white with red ears and nose to nearly all red. The face is often roan or flecked.

The name Moile (or Maol) is derived from the Gaelic language and relates to the distinctive dome or mound on top of the head.

They are of medium size (a mature cow can weigh up to 650kg) and are generally easy to handle with a placid docile temperament. Animals are also easily maintained on less acreage and less concentrate than most other cattle breeds.

The Irish Moiled Cow

The Irish Moiled Cow can be relied upon to produce a calf every 12 months if kept in good health and body condition and is running with a bull. Artificial insemination is also successful. They will calve to a continental bull without difficulty and have sufficient milk to do a good job with the cross calf. They will continue to breed satisfactorily until at least ten years of age. Many have continued to 15years and beyond.

Tradition has it that they are "big bellied" to consume and digest large quantities of poorer quality forage which was their traditional diet. They are ready browsers, especially of willow ash and ivy, which makes them ideal in extensive or conservation grazing situations.

In the dairy ,yields of up to 5000 litres are being recorded on these extensive systems. In the suckler herd the cow will "milk off her back" to give the calf the best start in life.

They are sound in hoof and leg and at home on most types of terrain. Moileds grow a thick winter coat and out-winter happily although being a heavy animal they will 'poach' soft ground.. Silage/hay will be needed for out-wintering in most situations. Mineral supplements are advisable although concentrates should not be required unless cows start winter with no fat on their backs.

Female calves are either retained within the herd or find a ready market with other breeders of pedigree Irish Moileds.

For more information please read The Breed Standard


FullscreenBackPlayNext

Herd Case Study: Curraghnakeely, Co Fermanagh

Irish Moiled's thrive on the Poorest of Pastures!

The Curraghnakeely Irish Moiled herd in Co.Fermanagh is run very extensively. The cows are out-wintered and receive no silage or hay. The cows calve outdoors in April and the calves are weaned in October (6 mths old) with weights approximately 50% of the mother.

To the right is a couple of Irish Moileds from the Curraghnakeely herd in Feb 2012

The Irish Moiled Bull

Irish Moiled bulls are normally of an excellent temperament making their use in even the smallest herds commonplace. They are extremely hardy and alert in the herd from an early age.

The Moile bull can be used on suckler herds as a ‘maternal sire’ to produce easy kept, milky, nicely marked heifer replacements.

For more information please check out The Breed Standard





Irish Moiled Beef

Irish Moiled beef has superb tenderness, is highly marbled and has a distinctive flavor.
Steers can be fattened economically on good quality forage without the need for concentrates and achieve carcass weights of 220-260kg at typically R and O grades



Finished Irish Moiled bullocks now attract a premium price through Crossgar Meats premium beef scheme. Crossgar Meats offer Grade plus £0.25/kilo bonus with an additional £20 per head delivery bonus for animals under 30 months. Any number of animals can be accepted at abbatoirs in the following areas


  • ABP, Lurgan
  • ABP, Clones
  • ABP, Nenagh


Other areas in the Republic of Ireland and mainland GB can be covered depending on numbers of animals. Producers in an area can get together and put away at least 12 animals to an abbatoir not mentioned above. Bullocks must be at least Birth Notified with the society to qualify for
the scheme and grass fed (no concentrates). For more
information please check out the Producers Agreement


Qualify for subsidies in Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland.

The Countryside Management Scheme (CMS) is administered by the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD) in Northern Ireland. Its an agri-environment scheme and Irish Moileds can qualify for a subsidy as part of it.

Existing and new members of the current CMS scheme can purchase a pedigree Irish Moiled cow as an option of the ‘Minimum Entry Environmental Benefits’ or as a ‘Habitat Enhancement Option’ in place of, for example; dry-stone walling or hedge planting.

Pedigree Irish Moiled Cattle can qualify for annual payments of £125 per female over 1 year old in CMS.

In the Republic of Ireland a similar scheme the Rural Envronment Protection Scheme is in existence and entrants can recieve €234 per livestock unit registered with the breed society.

Both these schemes are subject to other conditions and terms of entry but to find out more contact either your local Countryside Management Branch (NI) or your local AES branch (ROI)



Breed History
Click here to learn more








Back to content | Back to main menu