The accumulation of over 3.5 million genotypes signifies a major milestone for ICBF.
Genomics has revolutionised the cattle breeding industry in Ireland and globally over the past number of years. Through genotyping, significant genetic gain can be achieved, animals’ potential can be determined earlier and more accurately, and new, economically important traits can be identified. Despite the profitability and environmental challenges that are now ever-present, Irish farmers have been proactively involved in schemes and pilot programmes such as the Beef Data & Genomics Programme (BDGP), the Suckler Carbon Efficiency Programme (SCEP) and most recently, the National Genotyping Programme.
The introduction of weekly genomic evaluations has been one of the most significant improvements made to the genotyping process. This has been hugely positive for farmers to date. Particularly those who are participating in SCEP. They have access to the genomic data much earlier having changed from bimonthly to weekly evaluations. Going forward, the weekly evaluations will be fundamental to the success of the National Genotyping Programme whereby participating farmers will be genotyping all of their calves at birth.
The expansive database empowers cattle breeders with a comprehensive understanding of genetic traits, facilitating more informed breeding decisions to improve desired characteristics for their herd such as milk production, fertility, disease resistance, feed efficiency etc.
The growth of the ICBF’s genetic database sets the stage for a future where data-driven decision-making becomes the norm in cattle breeding and management. It not only empowers farmers and breeders with knowledge but also positions Ireland as a global leader in leveraging technology to enhance livestock agriculture.