Guide to completing the Euro Star reports

Daniel Hession meets Christopher Daly of ICBF to discuss the Euro Star reports being sent to farmers
Guide to completing the Euro Star reports

Farmers participating in the Beef Data and Genomics Programme (BDGP) will receive the Euro-Star report for their herds over the next few weeks.

The Irish Cattle Breeding Federation (ICBF) posted out 1,000 reports last week in order to get some feedback and will post the rest of the reports in batches of 5,000 from the end of this week or early next week.

ICBF are advising farmers not to be concerned if their neighbour has received their report and they haven’t.

I spoke to Christopher Daly of ICBF to get a full explanation of what information is contained in the Euro-Star reports. The reports are well laid out, broken into separate sections. A clear explanation is provided with each section and figure in the report.

Section A

This is the number of eligible suckler cows that produced an eligible calf in 2014. An eligible cow is defined as a cow that was sired by a beef bull and in turn its calf born in 2014 must also have been sired by a beef sire.

This figure has been calculated by the Department of Agriculture Food and the Marine (DAFM). Queries in relation to this figure must be forwarded to DAFM.

Section B

Section B of the report deals with the female requirements under the scheme. Firstly, the number of cows and heifers over 16 months, that are genotyped as 4 or 5 star on the replacement index required in the herd to meet the 20% target on Oct 31, 2018 is given first.

The number of cows and heifers over 16 months, genotyped 4 or 5 star on the replacement index that must be part of the herd to meet the 50% target on Oct 31, 2020 is given next.

These figures are calculated based on the reference animal number given in section A of the report.

As an example let’s take 67 as the reference animal number. Therefore, the number of cows and heifers over 16 months genotyped as 4 or 5 star on the replacement index required in the herd by Oct 31, 2018 is 20% of the reference number.

20% x 67(reference animals)= 13 Females. (The number of females required is rounded to the nearest number).

The number of cows and heifers over 16 months genotyped as 4-star or 5-star on the replacement index required in the herd by Oct 31, 2020 is 50% of the reference animal number.

50% x 67 (reference animals) = 34 females. (The actual figure is 33., rounded to 34).

Part (ii) of section B gives the number of 4 or 5 star females in the herd on the date the report was printed provided all were genotyped. The 4-star or 5-star cows, heifers and calves are included in this figure. For example, lets take this figure as 93.

93 dived by the reference animals which in our example is 67 is 139% meaning that this herd would meet the requirements of the scheme comfortably.

Part (iii) of section B summarises the 2018 and 2020 requirements for the number of 4 and 5 star cows and heifers over 16 months to be in the herd and also where the herd is currently in terms of the requirements.

The requirements and status of the herd in the example is shown in figure 1.

While at present this herd is ahead of target Christopher Daly of ICBF advises that it is important to keep the breeding programme on track.

A change in stock bulls could lead to females no longer meeting the requirements and it is also important to remember that while currently your herd might be on target many of the females could be old cows that will not be in the herd in 2018 or 2020.

Section C

This section deals with the stock bull and/or AI requirements. The requirement relating to stock bulls is outlined as well as the requirements for herds using AI.

The only figure detailed in this section is the number of stock bulls in the herd on the date of printing of the report that are 4-star or 5-star on the replacement or terminal index provided all were genotyped. For the purpose of the reports, stock bulls identified include bulls with progeny or pedigree bulls over 12 months.

Chris pointed out that replacement heifers must qualify as 4-star or 5-star based on the replacement index but bulls can qualify on either index but it’s important to note that bulls that qualify based on the terminal index may not breed heifers that are high enough on the replacement index to qualify for the scheme.

Section D

This section breaks the females in the herd into age groups (cows, 1yr+ heifers and 0- 1yr heifers). It also gives a breakdown of the number of females from each age group in the herd within each Euro-Star rating on the replacement index.

The number of females missing stars is also given. The main reason for females missing stars is due to missing bull information which wasn’t recorded when the female was a calf.

This info can be entered if known on  but ICBF warn that there is no point in entering false information for the sake of generating a star rating, as this will be identified again through genotyping.

The rest of the report lists the individual females in the herd in order of replacement index in descending order. Commercial females (a female not recorded as purebred in ICBF database) are listed first.

Cows at the end have no recorded sire and therefore have no Euro Star rating. Purebred females are listed next with star ratings for within and across breeds.

Finally, breeding males in the herd are listed showing their replacement and terminal indexes. Within breed Euro Stars are only published for purebred animals.

ICBF say that 90% of the 30,000 herds signed up to the scheme are already meeting the 2018 20% requirement. 80% of herds with a stock bull are also eligible.

What’s next?

Genotyping which will improve the accuracy of Euro Star ratings will be carried out next. Genotyping is required on 60% of reference animals. ICBF hope to send out tags to farmers for genotyping as well as a list of animals they want genotyped from mid to late September.

Pedigree male animals will be prioritised for genotyping first, followed by pedigree females then commercial 4-star and 5-star heifers in first calving and calves with high star ratings. Commercial males destined for slaughter will be lowest on the list of importance for genotyping.

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