June 30th is fast approaching. This date marks the deadline for BDGP participants who use a Stockbull to have a 4 or 5 star bull with a full genomic proof in their herd.

If purchasing a bull for the purposes of BDGP before June 30th, it is absolutley essential that you purchase a bull with a genomic proof. The bull also needs to be 4 or 5 star.

Important – A non-genotyped bull purchased now will not qualify for the purposes of BDGP even if he is 4 or 5 stars. If you purchase a non-genotyped bull, there will not be enough time to get him genotyped before June 30th.

Other benefits of a genomic evaluation

Genotyping significantly increases the reliability figures for a young bull as well as confirming parentage and identifying any genetic defects. A tissue tag in the animal’s ear does not mean it has a genomic evaluation. If purchasing a bull, look for the DNA symbol on the upper right of the catalogue page with the words “Genomic Evaluation” (Figure 1). If purchasing a bull privately, search for the bull’s Euro-Star index on the ICBF Animal Search. If the bull has a genomic evaluation, you will see green text saying “Note: Genotype included in evaluation” (Figure 2).

Figure 1. DNA symbol in pedigree sales catalogues. Only bulls with this symbol have a genomic evaluation.
Figure 2. Example of text in the ICBF Animal Search app which shows that a bull has a genomic evaluation.

Look for the ‘Whole Herd Performance Recording’ (WHPR) Logo.

Whole Herd Performance Recording is the Irish performance recording programme for pedigree beef herds. It is co-ordinated by the ICBF and its purpose is to collect large quantities of performance data from pedigree herds. This is done through extensive weight recording and linear scoring by trained personnel. Participating breeders are also committed to recording extra data on their animals such as birth weights, inseminations, etc. The benefit of performance recording is the resultant increases in reliability. The more data recorded on an animal the higher the reliability figures will be. This will result in less fluctuation in a bull’s Euro-Star Index. Look for the ‘WHPR’ logo in sales catalogues (see Figure 3) or the ICBF Animal Search.

Figure 3. Example of a pedigree sale catalogue with the ‘WHPR’ logo in the top right of the page. Bulls with this logo have been performance recorded by ICBF.

ICBF Stock Bull Finder

The Stock Bull Finder is a new application on the ICBF website which lists pedigree beef bulls that have been performance recorded as part of the WHPR programme. It allows you to search for bulls that meet specific criteria. You can also search for bulls by location by limiting the search to a certain county(s). The contact details for the owner of each bull are also available (see Figure 4).

Figure 4. The ICBF Stock Bull Finder lists all pedigree beef bulls that have been performance recorded as part of the ‘WHPR’.

The purchase of a new stock bull is a significant event for a suckler herd in terms of the initial financial outlay to purchase the bull as well as the impact that the bull will have on the future profitability of your herd.

It is therefore, so important that you purchase the right bull for your herd. Interpreting the Euro-Star Index correctly is a key part of the process. If you are unsure about how to properly interpret the Euro-Star Index, speak to somebody that can. You can talk to your agricultural advisor or call ICBF on 023-8820452 or email [email protected].