December 11, 2023


Adjustments to Ireland's beef breeding index expected to driver farmers' profitability




Changes to Ireland's beef breeding index will enhance profitability for farmers, according to the country's Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue.


The Irish Cattle Breeding Federation (ICBF) has brought in the changes to the terminal and replacement indices, which will see star rating changes for some animals. The changes, which have faced sharp criticism from farm organisations, came into effect on November 28.


ICBF said that 84% of animals that are four- and five-star on the current evaluation will remain four- and five-star on the new evaluation.


When it comes to the Suckler Carbon Efficiency Programme (SCEP), all existing genotyped four- and five-star animals will remain eligible for the programme in their current herds.


In response to a parliamentary question, McConalogue said that the recent update to the beef breeding indices were the first major update since 2015 and were based "predominately on changing economic drivers such as feed costs and final sale values".


"A modest adjustment also took place based on earlier slaughter of animals, tuberculosis (TB) resistance, carcass specifications and lower methane output," he added.


The minister said deferring the update "would have impacted breeding decisions at farm level and the ability of artificial insemination (AI) companies to respond to any impact of breeding decisions as a result of the changes".


"I am advised that ICBF have communicated extensively with the industry to explain the changes to the beef indexes," he added. "On request, ICBF has met with the breed societies since the changes to the beef indexes were announced and ongoing communications are anticipated.


"I am confident that the amended indices will contribute to the overall profitability and sustainability of beef production at farm level."

- Agriland

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