This section will deal with questions that have been raised in relation to the service. If you would like to have a question answered here please email it directly to [email protected]
I used to get these reports free. Why is the service being introduced and why do I need to pay now?
In short, it is a move to ‘User Pays’. The service is being introduced to ensure the financial viability of ICBF.
Over the last few years ICBF has provided farmers with a range of “free” herd reports. The number of herds participating in the database has increased from 6,000 to 30,000 over the last four years with a corresponding increase in cost to ICBF. ICBF’s income has not been sufficient to cover these growing costs.
Feedback has indicated that some farmers place little value on these herd reports while many others find them very valuable. For these reasons, the service is being introduced to enable farmers who are prepared to pay the costs, to receive the reports. ICBF will no longer have the costs associated with sending information to farmers who do not want it.
I am Milk Recording but not a member of HerdPlus. Do I still get my Milk Recording Reports?
Milk Recording clients, who are not members of HerdPlus, will continue to receive the standard suite of Milk Recording Reports. So, the Animal Report, Farm Summary Report and SCC Report will be sent as normal after each test. Also you will continue to get an Annual Report at the end of the year.
These reports will continue to have EBI numbers on the Animals but will not have any breakdown of the EBI figure.
So, why should I sign up to HerdPlus? What are the benefits to me as a Dairy farmer – what will I get in return?
Farmers that sign up to Herdplus will receive valuable breeding and management information for their herd. The main features will be:
- EBI reports twice yearly.
- Herd management reports e.g. breeding charts & calving/fertility reports.
Sire inbreeding control.
- Personalised pocket notebooks for recording events with the farmer’s data pre-printed to save time.
- Dedicated help-desk (023 8820452) to ensure farmers get the most from their reports.
What’s the difference between the HerdPlus “Postal” and HerdPlus “Electronic” service options?
With HerdPlus Electronic, all your herd reports will be posted on our website www.icbf.com. The Breeding Chart and Pocket notebook will be posted to you as normal. When your EBI report is put up on our web site, we will send you a text message informing you of same. Your milk recording reports will continue to be sent to you by mail.
With the HerdPlus Postal service, all your reports will be sent to you by mail.
My computer skills aren’t great – will I be able to manage my herd and breeding through the PC?
The only requirement is that you are able to use a mouse to point and click. With the number 023 8820452, we are at the end of the phone line to assist you in accessing your data from our web site.
To be signed up for the “Electronic Service” option do I need an Email address? Do I need to have Farm Software? Do I need Broadband connection?
You don’t need an email address to sign up for this service; all you need is access to our Web site www.icbf.com. You don’t need a farm computer package for this service either; you can record all the animal events and access all your management reports online. While broadband will make life easier for you, it is by no means essential.
We do appreciate that the roll out of broadband around the country is poor and so we have endeavored to keep the size of the downloads to a minimum.
I have a Farm Software package but I am not currently a member of HerdPlus. What will I get in my PC download email /update from ICBF?
You will get the basic milk recording information and overall animal EBI figure.
You will not receive the EBI sub-index breakdown, Ancestry information, AI inseminations, Linear Scores, Weights, Dairy Classifications, Dairy PD’s and Beef Linears.
I use my Farm Software package to manage my herd what extra will I get from being a member of HerdPlus?
- EBI Report – Including EBI sub indexes. (e.g. Milk Production, fertility, Calving Ease, etc.)
- Dairy Breeding Wall Chart for recording inseminations.
- AI Technician service details.
- Technician Linear Score and weight data.
- Personalised Pocket Notebook for recording animal events.
- Sire Advice and Inbreeding Report.
- Access to HerdPlus help and support using the members Call number 023 8820452.
- Priority access to special cattle breeding programmes, e.g. G€N€ Ireland
What happens to the money farmers pay for HerdPlus?
ICBF is a non profit making organization and as such the prices are set to cover costs only. The €100 + €0.50c/cow calved (electronic) or €160 + €0.50c/cow calved (postal) per annum is used to cover the costs of providing the HerdPlus service.
What is the role of service providers in the provision of the breeding information service?
No extra service provider resources will be required. The farmer signs-up for the service either on the ICBF website or by contacting ICBF by phone or post. The reports will be either posted to the farmer by ICBF or provided electronically from the ICBF website.
Why should an AI, Milk Recording or Herd Book be enthusiastic about the breeding information service?
It complements the AI, Milk Recording and Herd Book services and makes each more attractive to farmers.
For example, a farmer can use the breeding chart to make AI easier to manage. An expected calving report helps with the planning of calving – a plus for a farmer thinking of using AI or milk recording.
Calf pedigree registration through animal events becomes simpler for herds that used the AI technician service, as parentage of the resulting offspring is validated to the insemination recorded on an AI Handheld.
Further, the EBI of the calves are updated and readily available should the farmer have surplus calves. A real plus for AI, and Herd Book participation.
A farmer using the service will have a single point of contact for a range breeding and management information integrated over all services from all service providers.
On one hand, the farmer will have ready access to a wider range of management information and on the other; the value of AI, Milk Recording and Herd Book services is increased.
Will the Breeding Information Service include Catalogues?
Not directly. Catalogues will be available for all animals through a “catalogue service” that will be available from at least one dairy and one beef Herd Book on behalf of the breeding industry. The details of this service have yet to be finalized. We are currently waiting on herd books to decide who will be providing this service and will then finalize the details with them.
What do the staff of AI, Milk Recording and Herd Book members need to know about the breeding information service?
They need to be familiar with all the reports and how farmers can make good use of them in breeding better cattle and in increasing the profitability of their herds. We will be organizing a workshop to help staff become familiar.
What is the role of ICBF?
ICBF’s role is to market the service, to deliver the service and to ensure the service compliments AI, Milk Recording and Herd Book services.
How will the role of service providers be identified in the service branding?
The service will be marketed as an add-on to AI, Milk Recording and Herd Book services. Farmers who want something extra and are prepared to pay will be able to get this very efficiently and at a low cost.