Around 600 farmers in danger of missing BDGP targets

Approximately 600 farmers are in danger of missing targets set out under the Beef Data and Genomics Programme (BDGP), the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed, has warned.

Participants in the programme are required to have 50% of their herd’s reference number in eligible four or five-star females on October 31, 2020. A target of 20% was set for October 31, 2018.

In a recent response to a parliamentary question from Sinn Fein’s agriculture spokesperson, Martin Kenny, the minister said: “There are currently approximately 22,600 herds on target to meet the minimum 20% 4-star or 5-star female requirements by October 31, 2018.

At present there are approximately 600 herds not on target, but this is expected to reduce when the next evaluations issue shortly.

“The Irish Cattle Breeding Federation (ICBF) has issued reports to those participants not meeting this requirement, advising them to source replacement females,” he added.

Heifers will have to be 16 months of age or older in order to have a chance of qualifying, the ICBF previously said.

Under the terms and conditions of the BDGP scheme, it is outlined that programme applicants are required to ensure that a percentage of their heifers (eligible rounded to the nearest animal) are genotyped.

These females must be 4-star or 5-star on the replacement index – either within a breed or across breeds – at the time of purchase for heifers bought into the herd or at the time of genotyping for replacements bred within the herd.

Any non-genotyped replacement heifers purchased must be subsequently genotyped and confirmed to have a four or five-star rating on the replacement index before being declared eligible for the scheme.