Contract rearing involves the movement of replacement heifers from the owner’s farm for rearing on contract by another farmer. Dairy farmers contract out the rearing of their dairy heifers to maximise land on their milking platforms and free up facilities and labour.

As these arrangements are becoming more commonplace, ICBF has developed a heifer linking process. Breeding males can also be linked back to source (breeder) herd. The Contract Rearing screen has been developed to allow the source herd to have visibility on all contract rearing animals once they are linked correctly by the contract rearer.

Once the contract reared animals have been linked back to the source herd, the source herd will have access to these animals on the following Profiles and Record Events & HerdPlus Applications:

Profile Screens

  1. Basic Herd Profile – See Contract Rearing Column
  2. EBI Profile
  3. Fertility Profile
  4. Expected Calving Profile
  5. Breeding Chart Profile
  6. Weight Profile
  7. Pedigree Profile
  8. Due 1st Serve Profile
  9. Due Repeat Profile

Record Events

  • Record Heat/AI Screen


  • Animal Sales Catalogues can be generated by the source herd for females located in contract rearing herds.
  • Run Sire Advice on contract rearing heifers from source herd login.

Notebooks & Breeding Chart

  • Source herd owners in HerdPlus will also get heifer animal details printed on their Pocket Notebook and Breeding Charts once the contract rearing heifers are correctly linked.

*A recent addition to the contract rearing process is where dairy males (breeding bulls) can now be linked back to breeder source herds.


  • EBI report – Heifers (0-1 yr old’s & 1-2 yr old’s) will be available on EBI report of the source herd after the linking process is completed

How to link Contract Reared Animals

The following steps must be completed by the contract rearing herd to link any contracted animals back to the source herd. This will then enable the source herd to have visibility on the above profiles.

  1. The contract rearing herd must login into Login details can be obtained by contacting HerdPlus on 023-8820452. Alternatively contract rearing herds can text the word “PASS ” to 089-4577663 to receive their ICBF login password by text or email [email protected].

Contract rearing herds do not need to be in HerdPlus to log into our database to complete the contract rearing link up process. The ICBF online login can also be used by the contract rearer to record animal data while the animal such as AI serves, weights or scanning whilst the animals are in their farms.

  1. On the “admin” drop down menu the “Contract Rearing option can then be selected.

  1. The contract rearer must then enter the herd number (BTE) of the source herd in the box below. Then click “Go”.

  1. A list of dairy female & male animals should only automatically populate on the screen that have been transferred from the source These animals will be automatically pre-selected (in blue below) for the contract rearer to save. Only dairy female & male animals from the source herd will appear on screen to save and link.

To complete the contract rearing link up process, the contract rearer must click on the “Save” button. The source herd will then have visibility of their contract reared animals through their own ICBF dairy HerdPlus account.

  1. If there are animals from the source herd that are not part of the contract rearing arrangement between the source herd owner and contract rearing herd e.g. dry cows, non-breeding males, there is the option to de-select any such animals. In that situation, the contract rearer must click on “No” and then click the “Save” button. The source herd will then not then have visibility on these animals.

  1. If the contract rearer has heifers/breeding males from more than one herd, the process must be completed by entering the second and third herd numbers and completing the steps we have outlined above.

Please note: Only dairy heifers and breeding males with a direct transfer link from source to the contract rearing herd can be linked.

Development work will continue going forward to expand more processes and features. If they are any queries on any of the above or if any assistance is required, please contact us here in the HerdPlus team on 023-8820452 or email [email protected].