The Sunnyside Herd


Frank and Trevor Bryan pictured with Sunnyside Daisy, the first calf born in Crohane in 1992Robert and Ann Bryan of Ballinascarthy near Clonakilty in Co. Cork look back to remember why they got into MRI cattle:-

Back in the 1980s here in West Cork, where milk quota was impossible to get, with less than 20,000 gallons of quota on a 50 acre holding, we had to look at other options to just milking cows with very low protein and fat. Our Holstein-Friesian cows also had poor fertility and lots of feet problems.

We started to look at other breeds and because we wanted an animal for beef as well as milk, became interested in this dual-purpose breed which we thought would be suitable for our circumstances. In 1991, we tried some MRI straws on our black and white cows, and in early spring of 1992, we bought our first in-calf MRI heifer. To our delight she produced a very nice red and white heifer calf. On her following four pregnancies she obliged us by having a heifer calf each time.



Sunnyside Daisy, now a senior cow....

In the meantime, we bought a pedigree MRI bull which we used on the entire herd. We were rewarded by seeing all resulting calves develop into strong, healthy animals. The bull calves were brought to beef and finished at 2 years old, coming up with excellent grading that would match continental breeds. Even MRI x Holstein bulls came to beef on fodder beet and very little meal. We kept the heifer calves for replacements using A.I. by now. We found that MRI cows gave no problems calving; they would literally look after themselves and we would often walk into the shed to find active, suckled new-born calves with their mothers. The calves were very healthy and easily managed. We also found they had a very placid temperament, just like their mothers.

Trevor Bryan using the MRI's docility for his own purposes

In 1994, we took to the agricultural show scene, competing in Limerick with our two MRI heifers. The following years we competed at Clonmel, Clonakilty and Tullamore shows; back in Limerick again in 1995 we got breed champion with a maiden heifer.

"Edward Adamson (left) of Carrickfergus, with the champion MRI at Limerick Show 1995, lead by Eric Bryan (right) on behalf of the breeder, Robert Bryan

Limerick Show 1995

In 1998, we had the breed champion and reserve champion at Limerick Show. In 1999, the same milking cow as had won the previous year, was again presented with the Barlow Trophy for Breed Champion in Limerick. Ten years later, this cow is still in the herd at 16 years and produced yet another heifer calf in 2008. She is from the same cow family as the top A.I. sire Rudolf, bred in Holland, now standing in Germany.

Ernest Beamish (right) presenting the Barlow Trophy for Breed Champion at Limerick Show 1999 to Eric Bryan, holding Clonsillagh Katy 1 (breeders: Donal & Ann Cronin)

Limerick Show 1999

Over the years, we have been very happy with the performance of our MRI cattle. Not only are they much easier to feed that Holstein-Friesian's, they have virtually no health problems and our 40 cows which are all milk-recorded, show very good protein and lactose readings. For 2007, the herd production summary for our herd (pedigree and upgraded animals) showed 1,417 gallons (6,633 kg) at 298 kg and 3.87% fat and 265 kg and 3.57% protein. Bull beef slaughtered at around 20 months regularly achieves R grades, whereas cull cows are graded O and R.

MRI cows at grass

We find there is good demand for both male and female stock, and we have sold a good number of females, both pedigree and grade-ups. Pedigree bulls have been sold to customers in various counties around Ireland. In 2002, we sold a bull to a customer in Co. Antrim and our latest sale in early 2009 was to a farmer near Powys in the U.K.

One highlight of our MRI breeding was in 2008 when we hosted an Open Day for MRI breeders, neighbours and friends. Though daunting when we began to organise it, it was a very enjoyable day and it was very rewarding to see everybody having a good time - including the cows. Through breeding MRIs we have made some very good friends and have gone to events which we would never otherwise have thought of travelling to.

MRI Open Day May 2008

Open Day 2008

We are particularly proud to have sold our bull "Sunnyside Don" to Dovea Genetics in 2012, where he now stands as one of their MRI A.I. bulls. Don is out of a Doris 249 dam and was sired by Binkart. He has been allocated A.I. code SJD and semen from him is freely available.

MRI bull Sunnyside Don

Anyone getting involved in MRIs will be well rewarded for breeding these very lovable red and white animals.

You can contact us on 023 88 392 70 or phone Robert on 087 211 4227.


MRI Cattle: Red & White and proud of it!

Latest News

A.I. Sire Statistics 2014

Here is the Top Ten of most used MRI A.I. sires in Ireland with live offspring born in the calendar year 2014:-

AI Code

Bull Name

MY %

AI Company

2014 Offspring




Dovea Genetics





Dovea Genetics





Progressive Genetics





Progressive Genetics



Sunnyside Don


Dovea Genetics





Dovea Genetics





Eurogene / LIC





Eurogene / LIC





Eurogene / LIC





Eurogene / LIC


(Source of data: ICBF)

Beef Data and Genomics Programme (BDGP) 2015 - 2020

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.

MRI cow with Limousin bull calf

Progressive Genetics’ MRI Sires 2015

Laurence Feeney, Marketing Manager for Progressive Genetics, has confirmed availability of semen from the following MRI sires:-

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’ MRI Sires 2015

Pat O'Connor of Dovea last week confirmed availability of semen from the following MRI sires:-

Please note that there may be limited availability of some of the sires listed above!

To arrange delivery of semen to your local A.I. technician or your own flask, please phone Dovea Genetics on 0504 21755.

Damian DN available from Dovea Genetics

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).