Funding from the Brexit Adjustment Reserve (BAR) is to be used to kickstart the genotyping of the country’s cattle herd, the Irish Farmers Journal understands.

Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue told the IFA AGM on Tuesday that he would like for Ireland to become the first country in the world to genotype all livestock in the country. This would see all calves DNA-tested.

“We have a beef sector that is the envy of the world and the starting point in all of this is the farmer who calves the cow, rears the calf, produces the weanling or store and, ultimately, finishes the animal. Genotyping can be a huge help here.

“I am considering how that might be achieved, having regard to the funding that might be made available, the climate impact and a variety of organisational and logistical challenges,” he said.

It is understood that a meeting took place at the Department of Agriculture last week, where it was agreed that officials would formulate a formal application to the Department of Expenditure for BAR funding.

The proposal is that BAR funding could be used to kickstart the initiative and this would sit alongside a three-way partnership funding model using Government, farmer and industry funding.

The Irish Farmers Journal understands that plans are in motion to get a national genotyping programme off the ground in 2023, with some sources suggesting the first wave of genotyping could be up and running as early as July.

While starting off as a voluntary scheme, it is likely the scheme would evolve over time into a compulsory genotyping national programme.

An ICBF project will see around 50,000 calves genotyped this year, with all Teagasc Signpost Programme farmers taking part in the project. The current cost of genotyping is €22/sample.