All you need to know about the Beef Data Genomics Programme (BDGP)

The Department of Agriculture has answered the most frequently asked questions on the Beef Data Genomics Programme (BDGP) at the recent nationwide series of information presentations by the Department and ICBF.
All you need to know about the Beef Data Genomics Programme (BDGP)

Here are the questions and answers on genotyping, training, and carbon navigator.

Is the 60% genotyping a yearly requirement?

Yes, you must genotype animals amounting to the equivalent of 60% of your reference animals each year without repetition.

Do I have to put genotype tested animals in calf to qualify?


Can I select the animals to be genotyped?

For the first year, given the time constraints, the ICBF have selected the animals and you can only request a replacement animal if a nominated animal died or has been slaughtered etc.

From 2016, you will be able to nominate some animals that you wish to genotype.

Can the BVD tag be used to genotype also?

Currently, the tags have separate functions, however, going forward the plan is to have one tag capable of taking both BVD and genotype samples.

This will not happen until 2017 at the earliest.

If pedigree animals are already genotyped (hair follicle) on the farm, or before they arrive, do they have to be done again as part of the scheme?

Animals will only ever be genotyped once.

Some breed societies take hair samples for parentage verification (micro satellite analysis).

This is not genotyping. These animals will need to be sampled again.

Is it possible for me to pay to get my heifers genotyped, though I am not participating in the scheme?

Whilst priority will be given to existing BDGP herds, ICBF expects to be in a position to offer a service to all beef herds later in 2016.

As part of that service, herd-owners will be able to select and pay for animals to be genotyped.

At this stage, no price has been confirmed but ICBF expects it to be higher than the 22/animal negotiated for BDGP herds.

What is the accuracy of genotyping and by how much is it likely to lift reliability levels?

The process of genotyping is very accurate, provided that a high quality sample of DNA has been provided by the herd-owner.

In terms of the increase in reliability, work undertaken by Teagasc and ICBF has suggested an increase in reliability for the replacement index from the current 20% (based on just parent average data) to some 30% (based on parent average and genomic data).

This will be during the initial roll-out of the indexes (Spring 2016). Thereafter, as more data and genotypes accumulate (over the 6 years of the program), ICBF expects the figure to increase from the current 20% to approximately 50%.

If I am buying a bull should I wait until he is genotyped or can I ask the farmer to genotype and wait to see that he qualifies? How long would it take for a result to come back on this?

Genomic evaluations will be made available to herd-owners in Spring 2016.

In scenarios where herd-owners are looking to buy a bull (or females) ahead of Spring 2016, then they are advised to try and purchase animals with high indexes (five stars on the relevant index) so as to give some leeway for a potential drop in the animal’s proof as more data accumulates over the next number of months.

What does the training involve?

The training will be a four hour course with about 25 applicants per session.

The course will include training on all aspects of the programme.

Applicants will receive a payment of €166 from the facilitator upon completion of the course.

What does the carbon navigator involve?

It involves an initial session with an approved advisor who will complete the navigator in conjunction with the applicant.

For subsequent years, it will involve completing a series of questions, which will issue to you from ICBF in the form of a survey and the answers will update your navigator.

Who will draw up a carbon navigator, and will this cost me?

There will be no cost to the farmer for this.

An adviser will help with this task.

The Department of Agriculture will notify herds in 2016 of suitable advisers

Why have I not gotten any correspondence?

At this stage all applicants will have been corresponded with, however if you have not received any communication, contact us immediately on 076-1064423 or

If I have further questions/clarifications, whom should I contact?

Department of Agriculture Food and the Marine at or 076-1064423. Irish Cattle Breeding Federation at 1850-625626.

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