Farmers may lose out on Genomics money if today’s deadline was missed

Farmers who did not return Genomics 2015 data to the testing laboratory face losing some of their payments under the Scheme.

The official deadline for the submission of data as part of the 2015 Beef Data and Genomics Programme is today (Friday, July 29) to ensure full payment under the Scheme.

However, a letter which went out to farmers caused confusion, as many thought they 2016 deadline was imminent and could not be met, as many have not received their 2016 tags yet. Farmers must have their data returned by today if they want full payment for 2015.

Tags for 2016 will continue to arrive to farmers in batches over the next four to five weeks and while there is no deadline for the return of 2016 tags and data yet, farmers are being advised to return them as soon as possible.

Approximately 25,000 herds are partaking in the Beef Data and Genomics Programme and the IFA called recently for it to be reopened to suckler farmers.

IFA National Livestock Chairman Angus Woods said farmers in the Scheme are receiving their genotype testing tags for 2016 and this would be the ideal time to reopen the scheme to allow in new entrants and farmers who originally withdrew from the scheme last year.

According to the Minister for Agriculture, Michael Creed, almost 20,000 participants now having completed their training under the scheme and the Scheme has paid out almost €40m to over 22,000 herd owners.

The Beef Data and Genomics Programme (BDGP) is an Irish agricultural scheme which was approved by the European Commission as part of Ireland’s 2014-2020 Rural Development Programme and opened to farmers in May 2015. It will run until 2020 and is designed to improve the genetic merit of the suckler herds and reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the Irish beef herd.

Genomics Scheme

During the six years of the scheme, there are six key actions that farmers must undertake as part of the conditions of the scheme.

1. Farmers must tag and register all calves within 27 days of birth and provide sire details.

2. They must complete surveys, which include calf quality, incidence of scour and pneumonia. Further, cow surveys include milking ability, while docility and culling reasons are surveyed for cows and bulls.

3. Genotyping – ICBF selects the animals for genotyping equivalent to 60% of the 2014 reference animals. This means a farmer with 15 eligible calved animals in 2014 must be able to genotype at least nine cows, heifers, calves or stock bulls annually.

4. Replacement strategy. Farmers who keep a stock bull must have by 2019, a stock bull which was genotyped a 4 or 5 star bull on either the terminal or replacement. Farmers using AI will be expected to select 80% 4 or 5 star bulls from June 30, 2016.

5. Farmers must complete a Carbon Navigator by 2016, which is an online farm management package. It measures environmental gains that can be made on farm by setting targets in key areas.

6. Farmers must complete training by the end of October 2016.