Michael Creed, T.D., Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, launched the new phase of the Beef HealthCheck programme – Beef HealthCheck Online at the Meat Industry Ireland (MII) offices in Dublin on January 31st.

Beef HealthCheck is an Animal Health Ireland (AHI)-led programme which is being developed in collaboration with ICBF, DAFM, Meat Industry Ireland, Veterinary Ireland and supported by the FBD Trust. Following the roll out of touchscreen technology in participating meat plants, recording health and disease information on slaughtered cattle and issuing of paper based reports, AHI has now developed Beef HealthCheck Online. This new Beef HealthCheck Online dashboard for farmers and their veterinary practitioners can be accessed free of charge through the ICBF website. Beef HealthCheck Online provides more tools to search and analyse Beef HealthCheck information at a herd level.  The information accumulates over time and provides farmers with an over view of the health status of their herd.

AHI has produced a booklet to help farmers access, interpret and share the Beef HealthCheck Online information with their veterinary practitioner. This ‘Step By Step Guide to viewing Beef HealthCheck data on ICBF’ is available on the AHI website. Farmers and their veterinary practitioner can use Beef HealthCheck Online to implement and monitor herd health plans, including parasite control programmes, pneumonia control programmes and elements of nutritional management. Herd health planning promotes the responsible use of anthelmintics and antibiotics and improves animal health outcomes on farms.

Through strong collaboration with AHI, ICBF will be drawing on this data to develop genetic parameters associated with susceptibility to liver fluke infection and pneumonia. Use of the genetic component for susceptibility will improve animal health and welfare on Irish farms in addition to decreasing the amount of anthelmintics required to treat animals.

Launching the programme, the Minister observed “Beef HealthCheck Online is another example of industry working collaboratively for the benefit of Irish agriculture”.

Rebecca Carroll, Programme Manager, Beef HealthCheck said “Beef HealthCheck Online puts good quality information in the hands of farmers and their veterinary practitioners helping to improve animal health and welfare outcomes on farms”.

Philip Carroll, Chairman, Meat Industry Ireland welcomed the new online dashboard which will “enable farmers and their veterinary practitioners to further analyze results and tailor animal health plans accordingly”. “The Beef HealthCheck programme, supported by MII members, has positive benefits in terms of on-farm efficiency and improving overall farm enterprise performance. At processing level, it can also help to improve the harvest rate of certain beef co-products (such as livers). The programme is a great example of collaboration for the overall benefit of everyone in the beef sector”.

Fiona Muldoon, CEO, FBD said “FBD is delighted to support this initiative which will contribute to the profitability and sustainability of Irish beef farms”.