Calls for Beef Data and Genomics Scheme to re-open

IFA National Livestock Chairman Angus Woods said the Beef Data and Genomics Scheme for sucklers should be reopened immediately to allow applicants in during 2016.

He said IFA has been in contact with senior officials in the Department of Agriculture making the case for the reopening the scheme, “There is no reason the scheme cannot reopen and it makes very good sense as there are suckler farmers who would like to join the scheme.”

Angus Woods said IFA is very determined that supports for the suckler sector must be increased in order to maintain our quality beef cow herd. He said IFA has set out a policy of increasing suckler cow payments to €200 per cow and this needs to be addressed by the new Government.

Meanwhile, earlier this week it was announced that the roll-out of beef genomics evaluations by Teagasc and the Irish Cattle Breeding Federation (ICBF) has been deferred until August.

According to the ICBF, this is because of a desire from the wider beef breeding industry, such as AI companies, herdbooks and suckler farmers, to have genomics for female fertility included in the evaluation.

“The alternative was to go with genomics for all traits except female fertility, and add the genomics for female fertility in for August,” an ICBF statement said.

“However, the industry meeting [on Monday 25 April] felt that it would be better for farmers and the industry if we introduced all changes at once so as to minimise the extent of changes that farmers see in the short term.”

ICBF advises that until the August evaluation, if farmers need to pick heifers or bulls, then pick the highest Euro-star ratings available from the current evaluations, based on the relevant index.

“The majority of animals will not move [ratings] significantly. Even after genomics is introduced, Euro-star ratings for animals will change as animals get more data/performance records in the system and as our genomic evaluation systems improve in the future,” the statement said.