ICBF reaches 2 Million Genotype Milestone
Increase of 1 million valid genotypes in 3 years
May 21st, 2020: Late last week, ICBF announced the passing of another significant milestone with over 2 million cattle in Ireland having a valid genotype, an increase of 1 million in just 3 years. This milestone would not have been possible without the support of the Irish farmers, the Department of Agriculture, Food, and the Marine (DAFM), AI companies, and Herdbooks.
ICBF CEO, Sean Coughlan noted “We continue to make solid progress with the proven technology that is genomics. We always want to go faster. Farmers are now much more comfortable with the technology and it provides us with a key tool that we will use in meeting our 2030 climate targets, while also increasing profitability and sustainability at farm level.”
Genomics has revolutionised the cattle breeding industry in Ireland and globally over the past number of years. Through genotyping, significant genetic gain can be achieved, animals’ potential can be determined earlier and more accurately, and new, economically important traits can be identified. Despite the profitability and environmental challenges that are now ever-present, Irish farmers have been proactively involved in schemes and pilot programmes such as the Beef Data & Genomics Programme (BDGP), DNA Calf Registration and Greenbreed. As a result, the ICBF database now holds over 1.85 million valid genotypes for beef cattle, the largest beef genotype database in the world.
ICBF Chairman, Michael Doran added “Farming has been somewhat on the back foot in relation to the climate debate in recent times. The power of the ICBF National Database, aided significantly by the growth in genomics gives us hard data that industry and government can use to defend the green credentials of Irish farming when it comes to climate change.
The introduction of genomic evaluation services for all dairy breeds as opposed to just Holstein Friesian, will help to further increase the uptake of dairy genotyping across the country. This in turn should complement the already high levels of genotyping on the beef side.
High levels of genotyping will continue to allow Ireland to make progress on food sustainability, family farm sustainability, and environmental sustainability.
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Count of genotypes by type of animal
The table below identifies the current count of genotypes by animal type. Please note: These figures will increase further with the publication of the May 2020 Genetic Evaluation scheduled for Tuesday 26th May.
Level of genotyping 2011 to 2020
The graph below displays the level of genotyping from 2011 to 2020, highlighting the initial significant increase as a result of BGS and BDGP. More recently, pilot projects such as DNA Calf Registration and Greenbreed have also majorly contributed to the growth in numbers.