Ireland reaches 1 Million Genotype Milestone

On May 31 ICBF passed an important milestone with over 1 million cattle having a valid genotype.  Ireland is only the second country in the world to surpass this milestone, with the USA crossing the line in 2016 for dairy cattle.   For beef cattle it is the world’s largest genotype database with over 894,000.  When only breeding age animals are analysed over 31% of the Irish national beef herd is genotyped, giving unprecedented insight into the genomic variability of the national herd.  No other country has this level of its national breed herd genotyped.

This level of genotyping would not have been possible without the support of the Irish farmers, herdbooks, AI companies, and the DAFM.  The impact of the BGS and BDGP schemes can be seen in graph 1 below that plots the growth of genotypes from 2011 to today.

This level of genotyping allows Ireland to have an extremely accurate pedigree; quickly analyse newly reported genetic traits and defects; reduce genetic disease risk; and provide insights into the genomics of fertility, feed efficiency, and disease resistance.  Overall this level of genotyping will allow Ireland to have a major impact on food sustainability, farmer livelihood, and environmental impact.

Count of Genotypes by type of Animal

Class Total Alive Today
Female 851,718 704,344
Male 156,544 100,540
Dairy Female 49,988 38,105
Dairy Male 61,134 37,176
Beef Female 801,679 666,225
Beef Male 90,347 59,249
AI bull 5,114 4,129

Graph 1.