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May 10, 2023 | Latest News, Press Releases | 0 comments

ICSA has welcomed moves by the Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue to initiate a five-year programme for genotyping the national herd. Following a stakeholder meeting in Dublin today ICSA suckler chair Jimmy Cosgrave said, “This is a hugely important step and one that should prove very beneficial for farmers in deciding which animals to buy for further feeding.”

It is understood that the Department of Agriculture will seek public funding to kickstart the programme, with the aim of having it up and running in 2024, and in place for a five-year period. After the first year, a cost sharing model is envisaged.

Commenting further Mr Cosgrave said ICSA has proposed tagging calves at birth for genotyping rather than for BVD testing. “We are agonisingly close to being BVD free and it would be ideal if genotype tags were in place instead of BVD tags. Tagging at birth also makes sense from a practical point of view as it would eliminate the necessity to bring cattle back in at a later age for any additional tagging.”

“A crucial element will be the display of information on mart boards including the CBV (Commercial Beef Value). There are significant variations in efficiency and cost effectiveness when it comes to finishing animals depending on their beef merit. Farmers buying calves, weanlings, and store cattle in marts need this information to make informed decisions about what they are buying and how these animals are likely to perform. In the context of aiming to meet our climate targets this information is essential.”

“This will also require a drive to get dairy farmers to get the balance right in breeding and make sure that cows are not only bred for a narrow range of traits.”

In addition, ICSA stressed the need for an ambitious vision to marry all the benefits of this programme in the marketing of our beef. Mr Cosgrave said, “In particular we could very quickly use this in our suckler premium brand to deliver DNA verified suckler beef.”


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