By Keith Fahy, drystock advisor, Teagasc, Galway/Clare

Farmers in the Beef Data and Genomics Programme (BDGP) 1 scheme must ensure that they meet the end of October deadline. 50% of their reference number of cows/heifers must be eligible 4-star and 5-star replacement females.

Females must be genotyped 4-star and 5-star and must be over 16 months-of-age on October 31, 2020.

Therefore, the females must be born/registered on or before June 30, 2019, to be eligible.

Farmers would have received letters from the Irish Cattle Breeding Federation (ICBF) on the current status of their herd or they can access this on the ICBF website under the BDGP section.

Penalties of up to 140% can be incurred if this deadline is not met. So, not only will the farmer not receive any payment for 2020, they will also be deducted a further 40% of the gross payment for another year.

There are a number of 4-star and 5-star replacement heifer sales coming on stream in selected marts over the coming weeks.

Farmers looking for these heifers have a number of ways to purchase these heifers. They can be bought privately, through marts, or at special sales.

The ICBF has also launched a new mart tracker tool where farmers can select a particular mart and look up to see if any eligible females will be for sale in that mart on a given day.

This can be done by logging onto the ICBF home page and by clicking into the live mart tracker; then, choose the mart and lots should appear.

Numbers will vary depending on the time you check, as some heifers entered into the marts late on the day may be slower to appear on the tracker, so it is important to keep updating the search on the day of the sale.