Bay Lough Traditional Irish Farmhouse Cheese

Anne and Richard Keating originally began making cheese more than 20 years ago in an attempt to increase the income from their circa 50 acre disadvantaged farm near Clogheen, Co. Tipperary. Early experiments in the kitchen of their home lead to what was to become a well-known, multiple award winning brand of Irish farmhouse cheese.

In 1987, the Keatings' 17,000 gallons of milk quota were filled by 19 cows. Originally milking Holstein-Friesians, Richard not only complained about the cows' frequent foot problems but found their milk too low in solids for successful cheese making. To increase milk quality by raising protein and lactose, he decided to move to MRI cows.

Apart from now getting excellent milk for their budding business, Anne and Richard found the MRI ideally suited to their farm. They were hardy cows, didn't suffer from any foot problems and had a good temperament. Richard recalls, "The most magical thing compared to the Holsteins was, that the MRI were easy calvers."

MRI cows supplied milk for Bay Lough cheese until a few years ago. During that time, Anne and Richard built up a thriving business. Now 70 years of age, Richard decided to sell his dairy herd 3-4 years ago. "Anne and I have 4 sons and 2 daughters," says Richard. "Two of our sons live in the States, and when the two boys living here at home got married and their priorities changed to their own young families, we decided to give up milking. When we advertised the herd, the phone nearly lit up with enquiries and we could have sold our animals twice over. I loved the cows and was sorry to see them go. If I was younger and could live my life again, there is no doubt in my mind that the MRI would be my first choice of cow. I have nothing but the highest of praise for the breed!"

Anne and Richard Keating are now buying their milk from a local farmer. "He is not milking MRI, but his herd has a lot of Norwegian Red blood," explains Richard. As the Scandinavian breeds were originally founded with Dutch MRI and old German Rotbunt bloodlines, this is an alternative that Richard is happy with.

Available in good delis around the country, Bay Lough cheese in its wide range of delicious varieties has gone from strength to strength. This is undoubtedly attributable to Anne's and Richard's hard work and determination, but we would like to think that their MRI cows made a not insignificant contribution to their business.

The MRI Society wish Bay Lough cheese continued success and would like to thank Anne and Richard for having shared their story with us!

Bay Lough Traditional Irish Farmhouse Cheese

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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

S1485

Biom

93.75

Dovea Genetics

112

S911

Thorgal

96.88

Dovea Genetics

109

S1198

Dominic

100

Progressive Genetics

74

S1537

Meldon

93.75

Progressive Genetics

73

SJD

Sunnyside Don

100

Dovea Genetics

70

S824

Malborix

93.75

Dovea Genetics

64

DOU

Dorus

81.25

Eurogene / LIC

56

RVM

Marvist

100

Eurogene / LIC

51

PIS

Pistill

81.25

Eurogene / LIC

48

PAE

Parole

100

Eurogene / LIC

29

(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).