Magnificent Moilies all set for a history-making online sale

MOILED DECADE RI Farm
ON FARM: IMCS breed secretary Gillian Steele with Edwin Poots, Minister for Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs, wishing the Irish Moiled Cattle Society a very successful online sale.

THE Magnificent Moilie sale, an online timed auction commencing on Thursday, September 24, at noon and concluding on Saturday, September 26, will make history for the Irish Moiled breed.

This is the first official online sale of Irish Moiled cattle which is open to buyers from Great Britain, Northern Ireland, and the Republic of Ireland.

There will be no better way of selecting new bloodlines from some of the top Irish Moiled herds in the breed, with 37 lots up for grabs in this Magnificent Moilie sale.

The Irish Moiled is one of Ireland’s most distinctive breeds of cattle. More specifically, they are the only surviving breed of domestic livestock to Northern Ireland, a hornless breed which is also distinctive with its red colouring, marked with a white line on the back.

The cattle produce high quality meat that has a distinctive flavour and more marbling compared to other beef breeds.

They are a hardy breed that can be outwintered due to being able to withstand the cold, wet harsh winters, being of medium size and do not poach the ground. A very milky breed, they produce a lively calf at birth.

Irish Moiled cattle are very much in demand and are very often hard to source due to their rarity. Numbers of registrations are increasing year on year. The demand from butchers and restaurants saw the Irish Moiled Society launch the Irish Moilie Beef scheme in 2019. There is a subsidy headage payment on Irish Moiled cattle in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

Irish Moiled semen was exported to Australia and New Zealand for the first time in 2020.

One person who has seen the breed evolve is breed secretary Gillian Steele. She said: “September 2010 was the start of my journey with the Irish Moiled Cattle Society as breed secretary and it was soon evident that this breed was thriving with the help of like-minded enthusiasts and a great group of supportive directors. With a computerised system designed by Grassroots Ltd, a membership of approximately 80, a list of 18 directors and breeders keen to register pure-bred Irish Moileds, I needed to work efficiently managing family, farm and work.

“The following years saw the development of a mailing list, improvement of correspondence with The Moiled Times newsletter, society mobile, members on email, Facebook, Instagram, Irish Moilie Beef Forum, Photographic Competition, Members Open Days, Workshops and an Irish Moiled website.

“Over time there has been an increase in shows and events requiring sponsorship and support along with rapidly changing technology which saw our own IMCS Online Herd Book introduced to enable members to take control of their own herd list, transfers and birth notifications.

“We have seen the introduction of the return of our own classes around the shows, breed im-provement, working with two DNA labs, DNA profiles, storing DNA data, classification, an AI catalogue and brand new website, to name a few. These developments all come with a cost, but we have always been determined to invest wisely and efficiently for the benefit of the breed.

“As a society we treat all members with the utmost fairness and respect. Without our breeders we would have no registrations and to each one we are grateful. The breed moved on the RBST list from Category 4 to 5 and back again and so our work as a society is not done and we need to remain promoting the breed and supporting members.

“During the society’s revival in 1982 I doubt computers, public liability insurance or DNA testing were high on the agenda but time has proven that this is required to enable the society to function in meeting our objectives in a changing world. As the years pass the progress and workload has accelerated. 2020 has proven to be an unprecedent year but also made us more determined to continue to work remotely with the recent introduction of Zoom Pro and WhatsApp.

“Our unique ancient cow has become the breed of 2020 and in the headlines for all the right reasons following our first Virtual AGM, Online International Show in August, and the forthcoming Magnificent Moilies Online Sale.

“The needs of both our society and membership have changed over time, requiring forward thinking and sometimes stepping outside of the comfort zone. Over the last ten years 3,000 hair samples, 35 board meetings, 10 AGMs, a membership that’s more than doubled in size and just one Breed Secretary covering GB, RoI and NI, I think the Irish Moiled breed is holding its own, with many cattle enthusiasts realising that this is the breed that is tried and tested. Generations before us kept this breed for a reason – it ticks all the boxes with dual purpose, docility, thriving on a variety of pastures, producing superior beef and milk all whilst being a joy to look at.

“In the past 10 years, a personal highlight for the breed was in 2013 with the commencement of having competitive breed classes back at Balmoral Show after a 70 year absence with more entries that year than was in our herd book the year that I was born.

“Another highlight was the recent opportunity to speak with NI Agricultural Minister Edwin Poots about the breed, here on our home farm.

“I am privileged to have a great team within the society and it really is heart-warming to know that our members and breed now stretch from John O’Groats in the very north of Scotland to Cork in the very south of Ireland and with a few clicks on a computer we can make decisions and view stock in preparation for our first ever online sale … now that’s progress!”

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