ICBF has recently launched the National Genotyping Programme (NGP) for beef and dairy herds. This programme is the first step in moving the national herd towards DNA calf registration. We are strongly encouraging all herds in the Suckler Carbon Efficiency Programme (SCEP) to sign up to NGP in order to avail of the many benefits.

Key benefit of joining the NGP

  • Exclusive access to new double tissue tags so that ALL of your calves can be DNA sampled at birth.
  • No more sampling with button tags – Labour Saving
  • No more waiting for tags to arrive or rounding up of animals for tagging – Time Saving
  • Much safer tagging newborn calves as opposed to older animals – Safer Practice

NOTE: Only herds signed up to the NGP will get access to double tissue tags, so sign up today.

Other benefits

  • All calves fully parentage verified before registration – this will remove the risk of parentage/sex errors and having to subsequently correct them.
  • Animals receiving genomic evaluations soon after birth – this will ensure any breeding animals have genomic evaluations well before they are being selected/sold for breeding.
  • Commercial Beef Value (CBV) – this will be available on mart screens for all genotyped weanlings and store cattle that are being traded.

How do I sign up to the programme?

  • You can sign up by logging into your ICBF account at icbf.com.
  • Click on the “NGP Apply Here” button on the home screen and follow the instructions.
  • Only herds willing to register their calves online, via Agfood.ie or via farm software package, can apply.

What would I be signing up for?

The programme will run from 2023-2027. In year one (2023), all ungenotyped females and stock bulls in your herd will be genotyped free of charge.  This will be paid for by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) through the Brexit Adjustment Reserve (BAR).  From 2024-2027 you would be registering your calves electronically, using the DNA registration process. This will mean taking a tissue sample from the calf at birth, posting to the relevant lab and recording the calves information online via Agfood.ie or using a farm software package. Once the DNA results are returned to ICBF, you will complete the registration online and a passport (blue card) will be issued. Based on the DNA Registration pilot which ICBF has operated with a few hundred herds for the last number of years, the average turn-around time between birth and a passport being issued is 13 days.

Similar to SCEP, you will be committing to signing up for the full 5 years of the National Genotyping Programme.

How much will it cost?

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.

All NGP samples will count towards your annual 70% SCEP genotyping requirement, so you will only incur the €6 cost on calves above your SCEP requirement.

See example calculation below:

  • A herd with a SCEP reference number of 30 has to sample 21 animals/year (70% of ref number).
  • There are 30 calves born in the herd and all are registered via DNA registration.
  • 21 of the 30 samples will be counted towards SCEP, meaning the farmer will only incur the cost of genotyping for the remaining 9 calves.

Total annual cost to the herd in above example to participate in DNA registration:   9 x €6 = €54

How will I tissue sample the calves?

Herds that sign up to the programme will be using “double tissue tags”. One tag will take a sample for BVD, while the second tag will also take a sample which will be used for genotyping. This removes the need for a third button tag to be applied later to collect DNA.

What if I have some old tags left?

Calves registered with any remaining “single tissue tags” can be DNA sampled using button tags. You can order these button tags from your tag supplier. If you sign up to the programme, the next time that you order tags, you will receive double tissue tags which will collect both BVD and DNA tissue samples.

For more information on the National Genotyping Programme, call the HerdPlus office on 023-8820452 or email [email protected].