The following Questions and Answers will help answers most of the commonly asked questions that farmers have in relation to the Beef Genomic Scheme.
Q. What is the benefit of the genomics data for me the farmer?
A. In the first year the information will be used for research purposes in order to be able to provide higher reliability breeding indexes in the future. Once the research is complete, genomic evaluation will be made available for the animals that were tested. More detailed information on the benefits of genomics is available on the ICBF website.
Q. When and where will I see the benefits of this scheme?
A. This year is all about collecting data on animals to conduct the relevant research necessary to provide genomic evaluations for beef cattle in 2015. For this year, the animal’s parentage will be checked if the sire has a DNA profile recorded.
Q. Why are cows being tagged as opposed to calves?
A. Cows can be included in the research immediately as they already have information for , fertility and maternal traits. Calves would only be useful once they calved in a couple of years.
Q. How many animals will I have to test?
A. You will be asked to sample at least 15% of your herd. A stock bull will be included in the 15%. Therefore, if you have 10 cows and a stock bull you will be required to genotype 1 cow and 1 stock bull.
Q. What animals are used to calculate the number of animals to be tested?
A. The 15% will be based on the number of cows calved in 2013 plus any stock bull(s) currently on the farm.
Q. I have 20 cows and 1 stock bull – how many animals will I have to test?
A. You will be required to test 3 cows and the stock bull.
Q. I have 20 cows and no stock bulls – how many animals will I have to test?
A. You will be required to test 3 cows.
Q. I have 20 cows and 2 stock bulls – how many animals will I have to test?
A. As stock bulls provide the most valuable information we will ask you to test the two bulls and 2 cows.
Q. How are animals selected for testing?
A. Cows were selected on the basis of their breed, age, records available and ancestry. A detailed document on the selection procedure can be found on the ICBF website.
Q. If the test indicates there was a mix-up with the Sire or Dam information, will I be penalised?
A. No, any errors identified will be corrected automatically and there will be no penalties imposed.
Q. If the test indicates there was a mix-up with the Sire or Dam information, how easy is it to fix the data?
A. The data will be corrected automatically and you will be notified of any changes that are made
Q. What if I don’t send back a sample, will I be penalised?
A. In order to comply fully with the scheme a farmer must return the same number of samples requested.
Q. What happens if a sample gets lost in the post?
A. Once you send away your samples, you should receive notification by text of the lab getting the samples within 2 week. If you do not receive this text please call the Helpline on 0761064423 or 1850 625 626.
Q. What happens if a requested animal is dead or sold?
Due to the time required to order tags there may be instance where a tag has been received for animal that has been sold or is dead. In this situation a replacement sampling kit should be requested by calling the help line 0761064423 or 1850 625 626.
Q. The liquid from my tag leaked, what do I do?
A. If for any reason the liquid leaks, ensure that the sample is sent to the lab as soon as possible. Samples will be preserved for a number of days even in the absence of the liquid.
Q. I have broken a tag, how do I get another one?
A. If the tag has broken but you think you have captured the ear tissue sample proceed to place the needle in the tube. If you have lost tags please contact the Helpline on 0761064423 or 1850 625 626. Replacement hair cards will be sent to you.
Q. I didn’t receive any tags, what do I do?
A. If you have signed up to the scheme you will receive a text message when your tags are being sent. If you do not receive the tags within a few days please call the Helpline on 0761064423 or 1850 625 626. Replacement hair cards will be sent to you.
Q. The requested animal is no longer in the herd, what do I do?
A. The requirement of the scheme means that the same number of samples requested must be returned. If an animal you have received a tag for is no longer in the herd please call the Helpline on 0761064423 or 1850 625 626. A hair card will be issued for another cow(s).
Q. I don’t want to test this animal; can I get another animal tested instead?
A. No, any animal that you receive a tag for should be tested provided it is still in the herd.
Q. A requested animal has been diagnosed with BVD, will I still take a sample?
A. Yes, this will provide valuable research data into the underlying genetics of BVD
Q. I put the tag in the wrong animal and posted it, what do I do?
A. Please call the Helpline on 0761064423 or 1850 625 626 with details of the errors. These can be rectified later in the process and will not require additional samples to be taken.
Q. I can’t tag my animals, it is too dangerous.
A. If you feel it is not safe to tag your animals, please call the Helpline on 0761064423 or 1850 625626. Hair cards will be issued in place of the tags.
Q. Where do I send the samples?
A. Once tagged, please place the samples in the pre-labelled Freepost envelope and post as soon as possible. The postal address is Weatherbys Ireland DNA Laboratory, PO Box No 1069, Naas Mail Centre, Naas, Co Kildare.
Q. When do I get my tags?
A. We expect tags to be delivered to farms with 6 weeks of signing up to the scheme.
Q. What is the deadline for sending back samples?
A. Please return the samples in the Freepost envelope by the date indicated in the cover letter you get with the tags.
Q. I am not in the BDP 2014, can I still be in BGS?
A. No, participation in the BGS scheme is dependent on being in the BDP programme in 2014 also.
Q. I am BDP 2013, does this mean I am also in BDP 2014?
A. No, you must also sign up for the BDP scheme in 2014.
Q. Could genomics become a fixture or is this just a one off scheme?
A. Yes, indications from DAFM are that continuing the beef genomics scheme may be part of the RDP from 2015 to 2020.
Q. When will genomic evaluations become available for beef animals?
A. We hope to be able to provide genomic evaluations for beef animals in 2015.
Q. Who owns the information?
A. The tissue sample will be used to get a DNA profile (genotype) of the animal which will be used to conduct the research. The information will be stored in the ICBF database and will only be made available for ICBF research purposes. A copy of the DNA profile can be provided to the owner upon request. No third parties will have access to the genotypes without the farmers consent.
Q. How much does it the test cost, and do I have to send a payment with the samples?
A. The test costs €30 per animal. You do not have to send any payment with the samples. The cost of the tests will be deducted at source by DAFM on your behalf.
Q. How much do I get paid?
A. The payment for the Beef Data Programme is €20 for the first 20 calves and €10 for the next 30. The payment to the farmer for the BGS is €40 per calf. (Thus the total available per calf is €60 in 2014). If the number of animals exceeds the overall budget allocated a reduction per animal will be applied
Q. When will I get paid?
A. The payment for the BGS will be made towards the end of 2014
Q. Can I get an invoice for the cost of the test(s)?
A. Yes, an invoice for the testing will be available on-line and can be posted out to you upon request.