Questions & Answers from the webinar.

How much does it cost?

Dairy/Dual: Dairy and dual herdowners must be members of  Dairy HerdPlus. Dairy/Dual HerdPlus membership is charged at €100 base price, and 50c for every dairy cow calved the year previous (If a farmer calves 100 cows : €100 base price + (.05 x 100) = €150 dairy HerdPlus membership).

Beef: For suckler beef herds who are actively participating in the Suckler Carbon Efficiency Programme (SCEP) there is NO requirement to join the Beef HerdPlus service.

Suckler beef herds who are NOT in SCEP can also join the National Genotyping programme; however these beef herds will be obliged to join the ICBF Beef HerdPlus service, where the annual membership is charged at €60 per year.

The first year of genotyping is free, and each genotype will cost €4 thereafter (years 2-5) and will be paid at tag purchase. A direct debit for the genotyping fee for Newborn calves will be triggered once calf tags are ordered with the Tag Provider. This will be collected from the herdowner, by ICBF, approximately within a month of the order.


If I join NGP, but then wish to get out of sucklers in the next couple of years, how will I be affected?

• Herds joining NGP are committing to registering calves and genotyping those calves at birth until 2027. If a herd were to leave prior to the end of the programme, they would be subject to a claw-back of the genotyping cost of any of the cows/heifers/stock bulls genotyped for free in 2023 under BAR funding. The percentage claw-back potentially owed is reduced each year longer the herd stays in the programme. • So, the exact impact of leaving the programme early, depends on the number of animals genotyped for free in 2023 and when the herd is leaving. Full details can be found in the T’s and C’s: NGP T’s and C’s

 When will I get my button tags this Autumn? Do I have to order them myself?

• Button tags for your existing herd will be ordered within a few weeks of you being accepted into the programme. These will be ordered automatically by ICBF.

What happens if I have an empty/invalid/poor quality sample.

 • For cows/heifers/stock bulls genotyped for free in 2023, a hair-card sample will be issued to retest the animal free of charge where the previous sample was empty/low quality etc.

• For calves genotyped at birth from January 2024, the farmer will have to order a replacement button tag from their tag supplier directly. The farmer will pay the tag supplier directly and will pay €4 by direct debit for the lab retest.

What if I buy in in-calf cows, heifers or other breeding animals after I have been issued my free genotype button tags in 2023?

• Any breeding animals bought into the herd after the button tag order for existing breeding animals is placed, will need to be genotyped privately by the farmer prior to calving down, at the farmers own cost.

I have purebred male calves born in my herd this year. Will they be genotyped for free in 2023?

• No. Any homebred pedigree males will have to genotyped privately by the farmer at their own cost in 2023. Pedigree males will be sampled at birth through the programme from 2024 onwards.

 Some of the ungenotyped females currently in my herd are for slaughter and not for breeding. Do I need to genotype these animals?

• No. Only breeding animals need to be sampled this year. You can make sure that you do not get tags for no breeding animals by logging into, clicking “record events” and then “mark for culling”. If you receive a button tag for an animal that will not be calving in your herd, then you can dispose of the button tag and inform ICBF so we can close the sample on the tracking system.

What do I do if I receive a button tag for an animal that is already sold.

• Just dispose of any button tags that arrive for animals already dead or gone from the herd.

Will the Double Tissue tag be more expensive than the current tags I use?

• The Double Tissue tag is on average approximately €1 more expensive than regular calf tags depending on supplier.

Can I use my current tag supplier?

• Yes. All four approved tag suppliers have tags compatible with NGP so you can stay with your existing supplier or switch suppliers as you see fit.

Are Double Tissue Tags compatible with EID?

• Yes. EID calf tags have been were made a mandatory requirement by DAFM for all calves born since July 1st 2022. All double tissue tag solutions therefore must be compatible with EID.

Will my existing tagger work with the Double Tissue tag?

• Yes. Your existing tagger should work but if you want to be 100%, contact your tag supplier.

When will Double Tissue tags be available to order?

• Double Tissue tags are not currently available to order but will be in the coming weeks, well in advance of January 2024.

When ordering Double Tissue tags for next year, do I have to notify the tag supplier that we need Double Tissue tags, or will ICBF notify the supplier?

• Your tag supplier will be notified by ICBF that you are participating in NGP and you will then only be able to purchase double tissue tags.

Can I replace unused tags with double tissue tags?

• No. Unused calf tags cannot be swapped. A matching button tag will need to be ordered to use up these tags.

 Will the Euro-Star value be shown on the blue card/animal passport?

• No. There are no plans currently to include any Euro-star information on the animal passport.

Do I need to send in genotype sample for dead calves.

• Yes. The €4 lab cost will have already been paid by the farmer up front for all tags so there will be no saving to be made by not sending the sample for dead calves. It is also important to still sample dead calves to make sure the dam of the dead calf has not been mixed up with the dam of a live calf born at the same time.

What is the cost of stamps/postage to post DNA Samples?

• The estimated average cost of postage will be €1/calf. This will vary depending on how many samples are posted together in a single envelope. The DNA Samples are roughly the same size, shape and weight as BVD samples, so the same number of stamps should suffice to post the same number of DNA samples as BVD samples.

How long can I store samples? What is the best way to store samples?

• Samples are best posted straight away. However, if you must store samples for a short period, the following should be avoided:

• Extreme heat (do not leave next to heater, radiator or fire/stove)

• Extreme cold (do not place in freezer) • Direct sunlight

• The best place to store samples is in a cool dark place such as cupboard. If storing in the fridge, place on a high shelf and away from any icy build up at the back of the fridge.

Must all calves be sampled at birth? What is the benefit of genotyping commercial male calves?

• All calves must be sampled regardless of sex or breed. Once genotyped, commercial animals intended for slaughter will get a Commercial Beef Value (CBV) which will be displayed on the martboard when selling.

How long will it take to get Genomic Euro-star results from samples?

 • For existing breeding animals sampled in 2023, due to the volume of samples being processed, it will be a number of weeks before we get a result back from the lab. Once the lab have reported a result to ICBF, genomic evaluations happen on a weekly basis.

• For calves sampled at birth should have a genomic evaluation within 2 weeks of receiving the blue card/animal passport.

Are calves fully parentage verified? Should I include the sire details when registering?

• Calves should will be fully parentage verified provided there is a DNA sample for both parents in the ICBF database. All dams and any ungenotyped sires still in the herd should be sampled in 2023 but if the sire is an ungenotyped male, then it will not be able to verify/predict that sire.

• If you know/think you know what the sire of a calf is, then you should continue to record the details. If you are unsure, you can just record the sire breed. Either way, the genotype will correct/fill in the blank where possible.

For more information on the National Genotyping Programme, please call the HerdPlus office on 023-8820452.