Beef Data and Genomics Programme (BDGP) deadline extended one week, to tomorrow

Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney has extended the deadline for Beef Data and Genomics Programme (BDGP) applications, by one week,until tomorrow, Friday, June 5.
Beef Data and Genomics Programme (BDGP) deadline extended one week, to tomorrow

Announcing the extension last week, he said applications were increasing in the run-up to the original deadline, and he wanted to give as many as possible the opportunity to apply.

He underlined flexibility for applicants who dispose of some or all of their land before the termination of the six-year contract term.

“Firstly, it is the case that the vast majority of farmers have significantly more land than they need to attract the full payment under the programme, and therefore no problem should arise from the sale or lease of some of their land in such circumstances. Subject to normal terms and conditions, where a farmer disposes of land, whether by sale, lease, gift or inheritance, the transferee may take on the obligations of the transferor under the programme me. Alternatively, these obligations may expire, with no clawback of the funding received up to that point. The commitments will not of course be considered to have expired, where the participant retains sufficient land to fulfil his obligations under the programme.”

The Irish Cattle Breeding Federation (ICBF) has compiled the following answers to the most frequently asked BDGP questions.

What Euro-Star ratings do my cows have? Where can I find this out?

Herdowners should not worry unduly regarding the current Euro-Star Index of their herd, as the whole objective of the scheme is to improve these attributes over the six-year duration of the scheme (and beyond). Of course, once a herdowner has applied and is enrolled into the scheme, then DAFM (and ICBF) will inform all herdowners of the status of their herd regarding its Euro-Star indexes. This will then be updated on an annual basis, as the scheme progresses. This initial picture of the herd will also form part of the training for the six-year scheme, so that herdowners can develop a clear replacement strategy that is specific for their herd.

DAFM and ICBF are confident that if herdowners adhere to this policy, the maternal efficiency of their herd will improve (as per the scheme objectives), and that they will meet the compliance requirements set out within the scheme regarding number of four and five-star replacements by 2018 (20%) and 2020 (50%).

It will not be possible to meet the replacement index requirements of 20% four and five-star replacement females by 2018 and 50% by 2020.

This is incorrect.

Analysis undertaken by ICBF of the 2014 programme (based on 35,000 herds involved) indicated 30% of herds are already compliant with the 2020 replacement female requirement, and 52% are compliant with the 2018 requirement. Of course, there will be some herds, with very low replacement indexes, that will require a change in their breeding strategy, either through the use of high replacement index AI sires (€200+) or through purchasing suitable replacement females. However, this is exactly why the programme exists, to promote a change in suckler cow breeding strategy on Irish beef farms. This will be dealt with in detail during the training part of the scheme. Applicants should not be deterred by this issue; rather it should be seen as an opportunity to improve your suckler herd replacement strategy.

What are the benefits in getting involved in the beef genomics scheme, from a pedigree beef breeding perspective?

There are many benefits to getting involved in this new beef genomics and data programme including;

(i)

your pedigree animals (males and females) will be genotyped as a part of the scheme, with the cost of genotyping then netted off your scheme payment. Indeed, analysis by ICBF has indicated that of the 5,000 pedigree beef herds in Ireland, 90% would have all of their pedigree youngstock genotyped as part of the scheme, at no additional cost to themselves. The total cost of this genotyping is €1m/year or €6m over the full course of the scheme. Not only will this further help identify suitable pedigree males for the programme (see below) and replacement females for your herd (including potential surplus replacements for sale), it will also serve as a vital insurance factor for breeders in relation to confirmed pedigree status for all animals in the future (that is, pedigree breeders will have DNA- verified status on all pedigree young stock going forward in the future, as a result of the scheme).

(ii)

scheme herds will require genotyped four and five-star bulls over the six years of the programme (some 7,000 bulls/year). These will be provided by the pedigree breeders participating in the scheme, otherwise breeders will have to pay for the cost of genotyping themselves, with the current cost of genotyping a male animal being €50.

(iii)

pedigree breeders have taken the leadership on many initiatives in the past. For example, 80% of breeders were involved in the 2014 programme. It is vital that we increase this further in the 2015-2020 programme, if we are to ensure that the maternal efficiency of the Irish suckler herd is to be improved in the future.

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