One of the remaining deadlines for the first tranche of the Beef Data Genomics Program (BDGP) scheme falls on Saturday, October 31, 2020.

Participants in BDGP (1) must meet the requirement of having at least 50% of the herd’s referenced number of females, aged over 16 months-old, genotyped either 4 or 5 stars on the Replacement Index.

It is crucial that farmers who are participating in the scheme are aware of their herd’s current profile of eligible females.

The Irish Cattle Breeding Federation (ICBF) has released eligibility reports to farmers over the past week. However, if participants are still uncertain about the number of suitable females they own, they are advised to contact either the ICBF or the Department of Agriculture, Food and Marine (DAFM).

Eligible females must meet the following criteria:

  • Genotyped either 4 or 5 stars on the Replacement Index on the date of purchase;
  • Must have a published genomic evaluation;
  • Born on or after January 1, 2013, and before June 30, 2019.

Penalties for non-compliance

Failure to meet the remaining requirements of the scheme may result in a 140% penalty on a farmer’s payments. This would result in a farmer receiving no payment for participation in the scheme this year and a 40% claw-back on a gross payment received in the previous year.

At the beginning of this month, the ICBF issued a statement suggesting that close to 10% of the herds participating within the scheme were failing to meet the upcoming requirement.

BDGP-eligible female sales

In response to this, both the DAFM and the ICBF organised special ‘BDGP-eligible female sales’ in marts around the country. These are being held in the weeks leading up to the scheme’s deadline.

These sales are designed to aid farmers who have yet to fulfil the number of eligible reference females required. They also allow farmers who have excess (genotyped 4 or 5-star) females suitable for the scheme to bring these animals to auction.

The list of remaining venues hosting ‘BDGP-eligible female sales’ includes:
  • Carnew Mart – October 24, 2020;
  • Tuam Mart – October 26, 2020;
  • Carrigallen Mart – October 26, 2020;
  • Ballina Mart – October 27, 2020;
  • Ballyjamesduff Mart – October 28, 2020.

The ICBF also launched a live mart tracking tool on its website earlier this year, which allows farmers to view the number of BDGP-eligible females for sale (in any particular mart) across the country.

Extending BDGP

Last week, Minister McConalogue announced that an additional €40 million of funding will be introduced to extend the BDGP scheme during the transition period of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP).