The Irish Agricultural industry coming together to ensure the sustainability of the national herd

21/06/2023: Today ICBF officially opened the National Genotyping Programme (NGP) for online applications. The National Genotyping Programme is a collaborative initiative enabling Ireland to take the first step in achieving a fully genotyped national herd. The scale of the programme is a world first and sees Ireland once again, placed firmly at the forefront when it comes to national sustainability efforts.

The NGP has been developed based on a cost-sharing model between the programme partners, consisting of the Department of Agriculture, Food & the Marine (DAFM), Dairy Industry Ireland (DII), Meat Industry Ireland (MII) and participating farmers. The first year of the programme will be funded by the Brexit Adjustment Reserve (BAR).  For the remaining four years, the genotyping costs of €18 per sample will be divided equally between the three Programme Partners; 1. DAFM, 2. DII & MII and 3. Participating farmers (i.e. €6 contribution per programme partners).

Genotyping the national herd will provide a huge opportunity for both the Dairy and Beef industry to increase its sustainability credentials on a global scale. Ireland will become the first country in the world to provide a DNA-verified traceability system. It will lead to an acceleration in the rates of gain of our national breeding indexes (e.g. EBI, Eurostar & DBI), which will enhance farm sustainability and reduce carbon emissions.

Chair of ICBF, Michael Doran, commented: It is great to see government, industry and farmers coming together on this initiative. It will help provide a range of decision-making tools that will enable us on our journey towards meeting our environmental, social, and economic sustainability targets.”

Farmers are encouraged to apply for the NGP online via as soon as possible. It is anticipated that there will be significant interest in the programme across the country.  SCEP participation and/or HerdPlus is a requirement for all herds accepted into the programme. Applications will be dealt with on a first come, first served basis. However, all applications are subject to final approval.

ICBF CEO, Sean Coughlan highlighted: “We are in a very challenging time for our industry and it is great that we have tools at our disposal to help deal with those challenges.  This first phase of genotyping the national herd is a great opportunity for farmers to invest in their businesses with the help of government and industry.  I would encourage farmers to sign up early as indications are that the scheme will be over-subscribed on the dairy side.  We are looking forward to engaging with farmers and industry in this very exciting and challenging initiative.”

The closing date for applications for dairy herds is 14th July 2023. The closing date for beef herds is TBC.