Suckler farmers are being reminded they have just a matter of days left until the October 31 deadline for the Beef Data Genomics Programme (BDGP).

Participants in the BDGP must meet the requirement of having at least 50% of the herd’s referenced number of females, aged over 16 months, genotyped either 4 or 5 stars on the Replacement Index.

It is crucial that farmers who are participating in the scheme are aware of their herd’s current profile of eligible females.

The Irish Cattle Breeding Federation (ICBF) has released eligibility reports to farmers recently. However, if participants are still uncertain about the number of suitable females they own, they are advised to contact either the ICBF or the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM).

Eligible females must meet the following criteria:

  • Genotyped either 4 or 5 stars on the Replacement Index on the date of purchase;
  • Must have a published genomic evaluation;
  • Born on or after January 1, 2014, and before June 30, 2020.


Failure to meet the remaining requirements of the scheme may result in a 140% penalty on a suckler farmer’s payments.

This would result in a farmer receiving no payment for participation in the scheme this year and a 40% claw-back on a gross payment received in the previous year.

At the beginning of this month, the ICBF issued a statement outlining that a number of herds participating within the scheme were not meeting the upcoming requirement and would have to buy 5-star heifers to meet the criteria.

According to the ICBF, the ‘Mart Tracker’ facility on ICBF website allows farmers to view all BDGP-eligible females for sale in marts across the country every day and can be a useful tool for farmers looking to secure 5-star heifers.

Farmers are being reminded to check their herd’s status to ensure they are meeting the scheme criteria in order to avoid any penalties.