Excellent attendance showcasing the commitment and collaboration of the beef industry in securing a sustainable future for Irish farmers.

The first ICBF Industry Meeting of 2024, took place this morning at the Tullamore Court Hotel.  Delegates from both ICBF and Teagasc presented to the wider industry group to address the concerns raised over the recent updates to the beef breeding indices. The meeting, chaired by Mr. Paul Dillon, (retired assistant secretary general, DAFM) was well attended by organisations across the industry. A nominated representative from each organisation was offered the opportunity to voice their concerns and relay feedback on behalf of their group as part of the meeting.

Commenting on the meeting, Sean Coughlan, ICBF CEO highlighted:

“ICBF acknowledges the frustration that many are feeling and the impact that the recent changes have had on farmers.  We are committed to staying engaged with this process and will be back to the next meeting with actions taken from today’s meeting.”

The meeting agenda included presentations from Aidan Murray (Teagasc Beef Specialist) and Dr. Paul Crossan (Teagasc Beef Enterprise Leader).

Key Summary Points:

  • The Terminal and Replacement breeding indexes are tools that farmers and breeders can use to try produce more profitable animals in the future. The recent review of the indexes has incorporated environmental elements of future policy and updated the economic values of the genetic traits to align with market price changes something that had not been revised since 2015.
  • The economic values within the breeding indices take into account both the value of the output (revenue traits) that is produced while also taking into account the costs of generating that output (cost traits) in a combined index with the end goal of rewarding more profitable animals.
  • Based on the data collation and analysis of the genetic and lifetime phenotypic performance of all suckler cows slaughtered in the 5-year period 2018 to 2022, 5-star cows cost less to maintain, are more fertile, have more live calves and their progeny finish at younger ages albeit at slightly lighter carcasses. Considering the full spectrum of revenue and cost traits, 5-star cows leave €196 more profit per lactation compared to 1 star cows.

Next Steps:

What are the main actions to be taken as part of the meeting?

A number of actions were highlighted at today’s meeting. As a result, ICBF and Teagasc have confirmed that the next Industry Stakeholder Meeting will be scheduled for the 22nd of February, where a number of the key points raised will be addressed.


Additional Materials

(1)          https://www.teagasc.ie/publications/2016/teagasc-national-farm-survey-2015-results.php

(2)          https://www.teagasc.ie/publications/2023/teagasc-national-farm-survey-2022.php

(3)          https://youtu.be/zCMmpNMBml0 – the Teagasc ICBF webinar on the index changes

(4)          Copy of Paul Crossan’s slides from the Teagasc Beef Conference.