May 29 is the application deadline for the Beef Data and Genomics Programme.
Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney said last Monday that over 5,000 farmers had already applied, and applications were coming in at more than 1,000 per day.
He said the scheme remains on target for the envisaged participation of 35,000 farmers, for which funding of €52m per year has been provided in the Rural Development Programme.
His Department issued the following Q&A in response to technical questions received by applicants.
The Minister said any additional clarifications can be accessed on the Department’s website or by contacting the helpdesk at 076-1064423.
The genotyping requirement is 60% of their herd. Please explain this?
Each herd will have a number of eligible cows on which its payment is based (the number of suckler cows with a calving on the farm in 2014). This number of cows defines the level of genotyping that will be undertaken on the farm. The number to be genotyped will be 60% of the number of eligble cows for each year of the scheme. Therefore in a herd with 20 eligible cows, the scheme will be genotyping 12 animals per year.
This is higher than the number last year, as last year’s scheme was simply focused on undertaking the research to be able to produce genomic evaluations. For the scheme to work effectively, we now need to use these genomic evaluations on all potential breeding animals within scheme herds. This works out at about 60% of all animals.
In the example provided above, the participant must retain 12 breeding animals — cows, calves, heifers and bulls that have not been previously genotyped, for genotyping each year.
How much will I have to pay for genotyping?
The cost of the genotyping service is under tender. A final figure will not be known until later this year. However, it is expected to be lower than the €30 cost last year.
What star ratings do my cows have? Where can I find it out? Can someone look it up for me?
The whole objective of the scheme is to improve the maternal efficiency of the suckler herd. Therefore, herd-owners should not worry unduly regarding the current picture of their herd, as the objective is to improve their herd over the six-year duration (and beyond).
Of course, once a herd-owner has applied and is enrolled into the scheme, the Department will inform all herd-owners of the status of their herd regarding its Euro-Star indexes (via ICBF).
This will then be updated annually as the scheme progresses. This initial picture of the herd will also form part of the training for the six-year scheme, so that herd-owners can develop a clear replacement strategy that is specific for their herd. If herd-owners adhere to this policy, then the maternal efficiency of their herd will improve (as per the scheme objectives), and 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%).
Can I use the white card as part of the scheme – and then update the sire and calving data as part of the subsequent survey forms.
No. Initial calving events must be recorded via either; (i) Agfood.ie (ii) farm management systems, and (iii) Animal Events. This is to maximise the accuracy of data recording (at the time of the event) and also improve the efficiency of data collection as part of the scheme.
However, some of the calves that have been born in 2015 prior to the launch of the Programme will already have been registered using a white card. Additional information will be required for these.
Who pays for the genotyping.
The cost of genotyping will be netted from the farmer payment at each relevant payment run.
My system is based on purchasing first cross heifers from the dairy herd. Will I have to stop doing this and breed from within the herd?
No, you will not have to change your system. A high proportion of heifers coming from the dairy herd are four or five star-rated stemming from favourable milk and fertility traits. We are looking at encouraging dairy farmers to record sire data or genotype bulls moving into herds so that we will be able to link heifers to sire data through genotyping at a later stage.
Farmers are required to provide a large range of data. Will they have access to HerdPlus data for free or will they be required to pay to view their data?
The results of the genotyping and the information that farmers will need to ensure they can comply with the scheme requirements will be provided to all farmers in the scheme.
n See also ICBF’s most frequently asked breeding questions at ww.icbf.com/wp/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/BDGP-Q-A.pdf
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