For those participating in the Beef Data Genomics Programme (BDGP), there is a requirement that a percentage of heifers/eligible suckler cows be genotyped females that are four or five stars on the replacement index (on a within-breed or on a crossbreed basis) at the time of purchase (for heifers brought into the herd) or at the time of genotyping (for those replacements bred within the herd).
Where a non-genotyped replacement heifer is purchased, this animal must be subsequently genotyped and confirmed four or five stars on the replacement index (on a within-breed or an across-breed basis) before being deemed eligible for the Programme.
This animal must be at least 16 months old, and born in 2013 or later.
The number of heifers/eligible suckler cows meeting these requirements on each holding on October 31, 2018 must be equivalent to 20% of the number of your reference animals.
So if you have a reference number of 20, you will need to have at least four heifers/eligible cows in place.
Heifers must be at least 16 months old on October 31, but they do not have to be in calf on that date.
In order to check what position your herd is in regarding four-star and five-star females, look at the BDGP eligibility report which the Irish Cattle Breeding Federation (ICBF) issued recently, based on the latest evaluation run.
This will give you some idea if you are on target to meet the requirements come October.
Further evaluation runs will happen in May and September, and you need to keep a close eye on these.
New genomic evaluations, sale of stock, and culling of cows, will all lead to continual changes in what eligible animals you have available.
If you anticipate that you are going to find it difficult to meet the 20% requirement, you need to look at which of your 2017-born weanling heifers you could possibly genotype, and that will be 16 months old by October.
Pick those that are possibly showing the potential to be four or five stars, but are not currently genotyped.
The ICBF is likely to contact you in February indicating which animals will be genotyped in 2018, and you will be given the opportunity to nominate different animals if you wish.
The other option of course is that you may have to buy animals that are already genotyped four or five star.