ICBF are pleased to announce that the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine have agreed the funding for the National Genotyping Programme. The programme will involve the genotyping of the up to 800,000 cows in year 1 (2023) with the calves born from January 2024 to December 2027 being genotyped at birth using a new double tissue tag.

Genotyping the national herd will provide huge opportunity for the Dairy and Beef industry to increase its sustainability credentials on a global scale.  Ireland will become the first country in the world to provide a DNA verified traceability system. It will lead to an acceleration in the rates of gain of our national breeding indexes (e.g. EBI, Eurostar and DBI), which will enhance farm sustainability and reducing carbon emissions.

Minister McConologue said at the launch this morning that:

“We are stepping out a hugely ambitious and world-first programme that will ensure that Irish farming remains the most pioneering agriculture sector in the world”. Genotyping has been identified has a key player in the sector meeting its climate action targets – “I am confident that genotyping on a national scale will contribute to Ireland’s ambition to becoming a world leader in sustainable food systems, in line with our shared Food Vision 2030 strategy”.

ICBF Chairman Michael Doran with Minister Charlie McConalogue T.D, Minister of State Martin Heydon T.D at the announcement of the funding for the national genotyping programme


This National Genotyping Programme will run over five years and represents a significant step towards genotyping the national bovine herd. The programme is voluntary and open to both dairy and beef breeding herds. The first year involves genotyping all cows and replacement females in participating herds. The subsequent phase of the project (years 2-5, 2024 to 2027) requires participants to genotype all calves born on the farm each year. While participation is voluntary, farmers who are involved in year one must commit to sampling all calves born on the farm each year.

While genotyping can lead to very significant benefits, it also entails an on-going commitment of funding and implementation. The estimated total cost of the 5-year programme is €83 million.  The total funding allocation for year 1 (2023) is €23 million; this will be fully exchequer funded through the Brexit Adjustment Reserve.  There is a funding estimate of €15 million for each of the subsequent years (2-5) and this will be funded based on a cost sharing model between DAFM, Beef & Dairy Industry and participating farmers.

ICBF Chairman Michael Doran commented at the launch stating that:

“It is great to see Government, industry and farmers coming together on this initiative. It will help provide a range of decision-making tools that will enable us on our journey towards meeting our environmental, social, and economic sustainability targets.”

In year 1 genotyping will be fully subsidised for farmers that are accepted into the programme. This subsidy will cover the cost of genotyping all cows and replacements in participating herds. Farmers participating in year 1 must commit to remain in the programme for its duration. In years 2 to 5, farmers will contribute a one-third share of costings through the purchase of the double tissue tag required for genotyping, plus other additional costs.

ICBF will administer this programme on behalf of the Department.

The programme will be open for online application in the coming weeks.