It has recently emerged that the Irish Limousin Cattle Society has decided not to make it mandatory for its breeders to take part in the Irish Cattle Breeding Federation’s (ICBF’s) Whole Herd Performance Recording (WHPR) programme.

This decision means that participation in the WHPR programme will not be a requirement for premier sales – such as the one coming up in October of this year in Roscrea, Co. Tipperary.

Following a number of developments over the years, the WHPR programme was established in September 2016 by the ICBF – stemming from a previous linear scoring system that was in use.

What is the WHPR programme?

As part of the programme, a scorer from the ICBF visits a participating herd at least once each year. During this visit, every pedigree animal in the herd must be presented to the scorer.

Participating breeders must also make their herd’s available for ‘spot check’ visits from the ICBF, to validate birth dates and young stock performance in particular. These visits are intended to maximise the integrity of all data recorded in the herd, the federation explained.

Meanwhile, breeders are encouraged to record DIY weights on their animals; this will add greatly to an animal’s Euro-Star figures, it added.

‘Lost confidence in the programme’

However, a source within the society told to AgriLand that breeders have “lost confidence” in the programme due to the volatility of the Euro-Star Indexes.

It is primarily because of this reason, along with a culmination of smaller issues, that the society decided to suspend its mandatory requirement to participate in the WHPR programme.

The decision to suspend the mandatory participation requirement was reportedly voted on during a meeting of the Limousin society’s national council earlier this week; the decision is understood to have been backed by the majority of those voting.

But meetings between the society and representatives within the ICBF are expected to take place in the coming weeks; with the hope that any issues between the two parties can be resolved.

It is understood that the society is willing to meet the ICBF halfway on certain issues and it is believed that – pending an agreement being reached in future meetings – the mandatory requirement to participate in the WHPR programme will be reinstated later this year.

Accurate information

In response to these developments, the chairman of the ICBF, Michael Doran, told AgriLand: “I respect the decision of the Limousin society not to make it mandatory for entry to their premier sales to be signed up to WHPR.

“The Limousin society has always been innovative in trying to advance the breed. However, the scheme was designed in conjunction with the herdbooks and commercial cattle farmers with a view to helping to improve data accuracy and getting more weight records into the database.

We will work with the Limousin society to try and resolve some of the difficulties with the scheme.

“It is in the best interest of all [involved] to ensure we have the greatest amount of accurate information possible feeding into the database to help us generate more reliable indexes,” he concluded.