Gene Ireland will be the key focus of the Irish Cattle Breeding Federation (ICBF) at Beef 2014 next week.

ICBF launched its new Gene Ireland Maternal Progeny Test Programme last spring in conjunction with the Irish beef breed societies and partner AI companies.

The long-term objective of the programme is to reverse the decline in maternal traits, such as milk and fertility, in the national suckler herd and to help deliver consistent, measurable genetic gain in beef breeding.

The organisation is doing this by identifying high Replacement Index bulls in pedigree beef herds and carrying out comprehensive progeny testing on these bulls. The bulls will be tested in commercial herds and ICBF is looking for farmers to sign up to the programme and use this semen.

Latest research from the ICBF has shown that high index cows leave €50 additional profit when compared to lower index cows.

ICBF will have a large Gene Ireland themed marquee on the day. This will focus on areas such as the Gene Ireland pedigree and commercial programmes, HerdPlus, genomics and data recording. All participating breeds and AI companies will be represented on the day.

The ICBF will also have a meat eating quality exercise taking place. Groups of people will be given a sample of meat from two different animals and will be asked to fill out a quick survey afterwards.

Beef 2014 will take place at Teagasc, Grange, Co. Meath on Wednesday, June 18. This is an industry-wide open day that will focus on all areas of beef farming in Ireland. It will be the biggest beef open day ever organised in Ireland and is not to be missed.

Buses from various parts of the country are being arranged by Teagasc. For more information contact your local Teagasc office.