The new ICBF Whole Herd Recording Program has just this week passed the significant milestone of having 500 pedigree breeders signing up to avail of the service. The new WHPR program has replaced the old way in which pedigree beef herds were performance recorded by ICBF.
‘We are delighted with how the new WHPR program has started. We have 500 pedigree breeders signed up from 12 different breeds already and we have carried out 331 whole herd visits. In the old system, 7,500 pedigree cattle were scored across 1000 herds in a year, but the majority of these animals were weighed & scored on their own or in small groups. In many cases, bulls were being weighed and scored on their own as a way of qualifying them for a sale.
The new WHPR program has just over 17500 pedigree cattle lined up for recording across the 500 herds that have signed up in the first 10 months. Clearly the new system has far outstripped the old system in terms of both the quality and volume of data it is returning. The cost is largely the same but the impact the data will have on the accuracy of the €uro-Stars is far greater’, according to ICBF’s Pat Donnellan.
Table 1: Number of Breeders that have signed up to the WHPR program.
The new WHPR program is also specifically set up so as Pedigree Breeder’s bulls will be constantly advertised for sale and that they will be clearly identified with the WHPR stamp (shown below).
The ‘Bull Finder’ is a new online bull sales section on the ICBF website which is due to be launched in autumn 2017. Only bulls from WHPR herds will be included, and it’s only these bulls that will have a WHPR stamp printed beside them in a sales catalogue. The Breeder’s contact details and a facility for breeders to upload a photo of the bull will also be available.
Feed Efficiency makes up nearly 20% of the ‘Replacement Index’. There is a direct link between the size of an animal and its feed intake. It’s important that a Pedigree Breeder gets his cows weighed as we are rewarding those cows that are not expensive to keep but breed a great calf. It’s important to note that only cows with a calf suckling are to be weighed. It would not be safe or beneficial to weigh heavily in-calf cows.
Participating Breeders want to show that the data recording carried out in their herds (Dates of Birth etc.) is done with the utmost ‘Accuracy & Transparency’. ‘Spot Checks’ will be carried out on a regular basis to ensure the accuracy of the data being recorded. As would be common, this is all covered in the ‘Terms & Conditions’ that apply to the Service.
Leo McEnroe is a pedigree Aberdeen Angus Breeder from Maghera, Virginia, Co. Cavan. He is also a member of the WHPR Program and has had his whole pedigree Angus herd performance recorded by ICBF. ‘I wanted to make sure that I would have the weight and score data recorded so as my bulls €uro-Star figures would be as accurate as possible on the day of sale. It took 2 days to record over 230 pedigree animals that make up my herd but I look on it as an investment into my pedigree herd because given the interest in €uro-Stars and Calving Ease figures amongst buyers – it’s an investment that is well worthwhile making’.
‘Goulding Jim Dandy’ is a prime example as to why, as a pedigree breeder, it is crucial to get involved in scoring and weighing your herd with ICBF. He is my main Stockbull and has many bulls and heifers in the herd, but he started off as a 2 star bull on ‘Replacement Index’. At this stage, over 100 of his pedigree sons and daughters in my herd have been scored and weighed by ICBF. His index figures gradually rose and he is now a 4 star bull (€81 @ 64% rel). He has also been genotyped. There’s no point in me as a pedigree breeder giving out about the figures that the ICBF computer gives out if I don’t put any data about my pedigree cattle into their computer to start with’.
- All pedigree animals must be presented. Different information will be recorded, depending on the animal’s age.
ICBF will pay for 50% of the cost of weighing the cows in a herd’s first visit. Costs are subject to annual reviews and any increases will be shown on the ICBF website. Please note that the Services are subject to the terms & conditions attached.