The Irish Cattle Breeding Federation (ICBF) has recorded a small financial surplus in the year 2018, according to a report released by the body today, Wednesday, May 29.

The report also shows that the federation – which marked its 20th anniversary last year – now has over 1.4 million genotypes recorded in its database, which, it claims, makes it the largest cattle breeding programme in the world outside the US.

In 2018, over 73,000 herds, with 2.35 million calvings (dairy and beef) participated in one or more aspects of the database, which the ICBF said improved beef and dairy genetic evaluations.

The ICBF’s total revenue was up slightly by €500,000 in 2018 – up to €13.6 million from €13.1 million in 2017.

Final audited accounts for 2018 show a surplus of €180,000, according to the report.

The report shows the 2018 income came from: grants from the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine; cattle breeding infrastructure contributions to genetic evaluation projects; tag contributions from farmers; and service fees from industry and farmers, including the genotyping costs of the Beef Data and Genomics Programme (BDGP).

According to the report, the BDGP has brought about a €5 increase in the replacement index of the suckler beef herd, following a €7 rise in 2017.

The report also says that the average terminal index for the beef herd has increased “by some €70 per animal slaughtered over the last 15 years”, which, it says, “represents a gain of almost €580 million to beef farmers and the wider beef industry”.

Other data shows that the average Economic Breeding Index (EBI) of dairy-bred female animals rose by €17 last year, which translates into a cumulative increase of €95 since 2010.

The total cumulative contribution of genetic gain since the introduction of the EBI is “independently estimated” at around €1.5 billion, the report claims.

In terms of new initiatives last year, the ICBF established the Dairy Beef Index (DBI) for AI bulls, and the launch of breeding values for genetic resistance to TB and liver fluke.