Chairpersons Update – Moving forward with DNA testing

Bull Registration Cost and DNA Testing

The Irish Moiled Cattle Society has a long tradition of parent proving all registered cattle using DNA analysis.

This journey started some 20 years ago with help from the Animal Health Trust using the Microsatellite technique available at the time. We were one of the first breeds Society’s to introduce both Sire and Dam DNA verification to ensure the integrity of our pedigrees.

Unfortunately, this technique is now old technology and could soon become obsolete. With the Animal Health Trust no longer in business the Society has appointed a new lab in the recent past to carry out the testing.

It has become evident that a switch to the more up to date Single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) testing has become a necessity.

This should maintain our proud history and keep our breed at the forefront in this field.

SNP DNA testing is seen as the industry standard and opens a whole new area of Genetic Evaluation to Irish Moiled cattle that is not available with Microsatellite.

This is an exciting development for the breed and one positive to come from the recent restructuring of the Society due to Brexit.

The process of switching will be a challenging process and will involve changes to registration costs, but we feel it is a necessity to keep the integrity of the breeds parent verification.

The first part of the process will start with double testing of all existing registered bulls both Stock bulls and AI bulls. The board has agreed to subsidise this stage of the process with Society Funds of which full details will be released shortly.

At this stage we would advise all breeders to collect a sample of hair from the switch of the tail (please see video tutorial here) of all registered bulls in use in your herd. It is also imperative for all breeders with bulls in use to ensure their herd returns are up to date in order to kick start the process. If you have a bull moving off your farm soon and have progeny due please take and store a hair sample.

The Society has agreed that for all new bull registrations in 2021 it will be compulsory to fully SNP test, the cost will increase to £75/€85 with immediate effect.

This is in part to cover testing costs and to encourage greater care when selecting a bull for breeding.

This new test will provide the breeder with a Genetic Evaluation.  All bulls registered will be given a star rating by ICBF this will provide a good tool for breeders when picking a stock bull.  The stars will be for terminal and maternal traits. The more bulls on the system the more reliable this becomes.   (

The profile of the breed has increased significantly in the last few years, with a leap in both demand and value. We have been at the forefront of ensuring the integrity of our pedigrees which must be maintained by making this change to the SNP testing technique.

The board of Directors feel that we need to seize this opportunity to drive the breed to the next level and are confident the breeders will be rewarded for their support and commitment in Irish Moiled Cattle.   

Brian O’Kane Chairperson IMCS

Herd Returns reminder...

Keeping your herd list up to date helps ensure the smooth running of the Society and of your registration process.

This is quick and easy to do via our online herd book Login here – or via the Green login button at the top right hand corner of the website at any time.

Updates can also be sent to the Breed Secretary Gillian Steele via email , phone, text or WhatsApp 07842185008 – we are here to help!