Up until 1987, most pedigree beef cattle in Ireland were subject to some form of visual assessment to determine their eligibility for herd book entry. In the majority of cases this service was provided by the Department of Agriculture. In 1987 the Department of Agriculture ceased this service.
For the next 3 years, the Limousin Cattle Society, continued with the original system of passing or failing animals. However, it was gradually accepted that it would be sensible to gather a lot more information at the same time, and also be able to impart a lot more information back to the Breeders.
A new linear scoring system was developed, based on the French ‘Pointage’ system and was launched by the Limousin Society in Spring 1993. The Charolais Cattle Society commenced scoring shortly afterwards and the Irish Simmental Society were then the next breed to start scoring. The majority of the other Beef breeds also commenced Linear Scoring over the following years.
Each of these breeds had their own scorers, were scoring similar traits and were often covering the same areas. In 2002 ICBF developed an ‘Across Breed’ Linear Scoring system whereby all of the scorers were able to score across all of the Breeds. Scorers were supplied with a handheld computer & weighing scales and were assigned their own areas within which to work.
ICBF launched the new €uro-Star Beef Indexes in 2007 and it was immediately apparent that a source of data that the figures were deficient in were on-farm recorded weights & linear scores of beef weanlings. In 2008 the GROW (Genetic Recording of Weanlings) was set up to tackle this problem & revamp the whole linear scoring system.
In September 2016 the service evolved into a Whole Herd Visit whereby every pedigree animal in the herd is presented to the scorer on the day of the annual visit. This is to reflect the need to gather more data on the breeding females in the pedigree beef population. This change is necessary in light of the BDGP scheme whereby the industry focus on the Replacement Index and genomics requires a strong base of accurate phenotypic data