Over 31,000 genomic samples have yet to be returned under the Beef Data and Genomics Programme (BDGP), the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine has confirmed.

BDGP participants have until Thursday, December 7 to have cattle genotyped. Thus far, some 295,314 genomic samples requested for the programme have been returned out of a total of 326,629.

This represents a return rate of just over 90% – with exactly 31,315 outstanding as of yet.

Also Read: Ireland only the second country in the world to reach genotype milestone

The BDGP scheme provides for six years of payments to farmers for completion of actions which deliver accelerated genetic improvement in the Irish national herd and improvement of its environmental sustainability.

Under the programme, the Irish Cattle Breeding Federation (ICBF) selects animals to be genotyped in each participating herd and will notify herd owners of the animals selected.

However, it may be possible – in some cases – for the herd owner to nominate animals for genotyping, other than those selected by the ICBF.

The number of animals to be genotyped each year will at least be the equivalent to 60% of the number of calved suckler cows on the holding in 2014 – or 2017 for new entrants. This will be rounded to the nearest animal, the department previously explained.

For example, an applicant with 15 eligible calved suckler cows in 2014 must have sufficient animals to genotype nine cows, heifers, calves or stock bulls, in each year of the programme – without repetition.

Meanwhile, as part of the scheme, applicants must initially complete a carbon navigator with an approved advisor. Following this, BDGP participants must provide data for an annual update to their carbon navigator in each of the following years.

A spokesperson for the department said: “Carbon navigators have been completed for 528 participants in BDGP II – approximately 1,200 participants still have to complete the carbon navigator.

“Carbon navigator updates have been received from 9,259 participants in BDGP I. Approximately 14,440 herds have still to submit the carbon navigator update.”