The red and white dual purpose breed of cattle known as MRI is descended from the Gelders cattle which was predominantly kept in flood plains of the three large rivers Meuse (Maas), Rhine (Rijn) and Issel (IJssel) in the south of Holland from where the breed originates. The poor living conditions along the rivers created a robust breed able to thrive under difficult circumstances.
The Dutch MRI herd book was registered in the Nederlands Rundvee Syndicaat (NRS) in 1874 and was recognised as a breed in 1905. The German herd book exists since 1900, however, the breed was managed within one breeding area across the Dutch-German border until 1914. Between 1920 and 1950, Belgium, Luxembourg, France and Denmark founded their own red & white dual purpose breeds, based on the Dutch and German stock. In 1969, the breed was introduced into New Zealand. MRI cattle were first imported into Ireland and the UK in the 1970s. The breed also occurs in small numbers in Australia, the USA and Canada.
As we move towards world market prices and with profit margins being eroded more and more, we have to become more efficient. We all know that producing milk and meat from home grown forage - preferably grazed - and little concentrate is the most cost efficient method of doing so.
The MRI is very suited to this form of farming: The cattle are good converters of grass, they maintain body condition easily, helping them to retain good production and fertility during a long life. Added to this they calve easily following a short gestation and adapt readily to greatly varying circumstances where food, care and climate are concerned.
The dual purpose character of the breed gives optimal flexibility to a dairy farmer's breeding policy. There is no need to breed only the best cows within the herd to high EBI sires to breed herd replacements and inseminate the remainder with beef bulls. The dual purpose sire used across all cows gives a broader genetic base from which to select the next generation, plus more options when choosing cull cows. Surplus male drop calves are commanding similar prices as good continental crosses. Suckler farmers are using the MRI to bring milk back to continental breeds without compromising beefing abilities.
The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine are currently posting the application form for the Beef Data and Genomics Programme (BDGP) 2015 - 2020 to herd owners. By entering into the programme farmers are committing to meet the requirements of the BDGP for a full six year period. The closing date for applications is 29 May 2015.
We would like to remind all keepers of MRI cows for suckling purposes, that - as a true dual purpose breed - the MRI are eligible for inclusion in the BDGP as well as all other beef payment schemes.
Laurence also confirmed that SiryX sexed semen from Dutch MRI sire Marcello is still available at a cost of €45 per straw. Due to the high cost and low usage of sexed semen Progressive Genetics do not carry stock of sexed Marcello semen. Progressive Genetics therefore require intended users to order some weeks in advance, to enable the company to import the semen.
For more information about SiryX sexed semen click here.
To arrange delivery of semen to your local A.I. technician or your own flask, please phone Progressive Genetics on 01 4080743.
Dovea Genetics of Thurles, Co. Tipperary are introducing straws from Dutch MRI bull "Damian DN" for the 2015 spring A.I. season.
Born in Holland in 2007, this Duisenberg x Guido bull's bloodlines may suit many Irish breeders. Damian is classified 100% pedigree MRI, and at time of writing, the following production values apply: Irish EBI 152 (Milk 49); Dutch NVI 162 (Milk 197); German RZG 119 (Milk 121).
According to the German RSH (Rinderzucht Schleswig-Holstein), Damian DN daughters have proven to be well built, with a wide pelvis and sound, well positioned feet and legs. In Germany and Holland, Damian DN is considered easy calving and suitable for heifers. His Dutch ratings for somatic cell count are excellent, no doubt aided by his daughters lengthy teats, however, teat placement is not always ideal. The RSH suggests to pay attention to the udders' comparatively weak central ligament and the slightly low rear udder height.
Official breeding values show Damian DN's daughters to be blessed with immense longevity in Dutch dairy herds, the rating of 251 vastly surpassing the advised average value of 100.
ICBF has issued Damian DN with A.I. code S2301, and any enquiries and orders should be addressed to your local Dovea area representative or their head office (ph. 0504 21755).