Herd Profile – Ballylinney

Ballylinney Irish Moileds owned by Derek & Cindy Steen in Dumfriesshire

Derek grew up in Northern Ireland and always had a ‘soft spot’ for the Irish Moiles, the only native breed of Northern Ireland and so ten years ago Derek decided to establish a small herd as a hobby.

Derek stated that he got a lot of help and advice from Chris Ball a long-established breeder in England. They visited several herds in England and Northern Ireland sourcing a selection of heifers from the best bloodlines available to him.

Cindy and Derek now run a herd of 20 to 25 Irish Moiled cows and followers. They find they are easy to maintain and rear good calves while utilising some of the poorer hill ground.

The cows calve in Spring and are turned out onto old parkland permanent pasture and hill grazing. The calves are weaned in Autumn and housed during winter being fed

The cows stay out on the hill with no forage fed until the end of January, commenting how pleased they are with how well the moilie keeps her condition on very rough grazing despite the very wet winters which they seem to have now. Cows are brought inside in February for dosing, vaccines, and annual blood testing for Johnes etc., for the Health Scheme.

All the cattle have calved without assistance with the exception of an eleven-year-old cow who produced twin bull calves, she required a little help.

Any cow they feel is not good enough for pedigree breeding is put to a beef shorthorn bull and these calves are sold at 11 to 12 months. This year they made from £1080 to £1170 a head. The 1st cross heifers are in demand as bulling heifers for upland herds.

Their absolute best pedigree bulls are kept for breeding along with the Irish Moiled heifers.

Having successfully sold some in-calf maiden heifers in the 1st online Magnificent Moilie Autumn Sale in September 2020 Derek and Cindy are hoping to ‘try their hand’ with 2 yearling Irish Moiled bull calves in the upcoming Magnificent Moilie Spring Sale from Thurs 6th May to Sat 8th May which is by an online timed auction conducted by Harrison & Hetherington, Auctioneers, Carlisle