Close to 7,000 BDGP genomic samples outstanding

Close to 7,000 genomic samples are outstanding under the Beef Data and Genomics Programme (BDGP), according to the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Michael Creed.

The minister confirmed the news in a response to a parliamentary question from Fianna Fail’s agriculture spokesperson, Charlie McConalogue.

“The Beef Data and Genomics Programme provides for six years of payments to farmers for completion of actions which deliver accelerated genetic improvement in the Irish national herd and improvement of its environmental sustainability.

To date, 306,000 samples have been returned for the 2017 programme year. Of the 24,800 active participants in the programme, 1,017 applicants have not returned 6,955 genomic samples.

“The submission of genomic samples is a fundamental aspect of the programme. Payments continue to issue as applicants become compliant,” Minister Creed said.

Under the programme, the Irish Cattle Breeding Federation (ICBF) selects animals to be genotyped in each participating herd and will notify herd owners of the animals selected.

However, it may be possible – in some cases – for the herd owner to nominate animals for genotyping, other than those selected by the ICBF.

The number of animals to be genotyped each year will at least be the equivalent to 60% of the number of calved suckler cows on the holding in 2014 – or 2017 for new entrants. This will be rounded to the nearest animal, the department previously explained.

For example, an applicant with 15 eligible calved suckler cows in 2014 must have sufficient animals to genotype nine cows, heifers, calves or stock bulls, in each year of the programme – without repetition.

These samples originally had to be submitted by December 7 – a date which has long since passed.

As of January 26, the total amount of 2017 payments issued under BDGP I and BDGP II equalled almost €39 million. These payments were received by 21,768 farmers.