Farmer frustration with the National Genotyping Programme has grown over the past two weeks, with farmers experiencing delays in receiving passports for calves amid postage delays.

The delays have left some farmers holding onto calves longer than they usually would, and others report that they are receiving genotyping information, such as sire and dam verification and calf Commercial Beef Value (CBV) figures only after passports have landed and calves are sold.

Some farmers who contacted the Irish Farmers Journal claimed to be considering withdrawing from the programme, but have cited the potential of penalties and the hope that their sample turnaround delays will be ironed out in later years as reasons keeping them in.

The Irish Cattle Breeding Federation (ICBF) has acknowledged farmers’ concerns with the programme and defended its performance by stating that in the week up to Tuesday, the average turnaround time from birth to a passport being issued was 13.1 days.


It said that 2% of samples have spent longer than seven days in labs, which is “understandably causing some frustration among farmers”.

It has announced two changes to the issuing of passports it sees as having the potential to solve issues that remain: passports will issue automatically if a sample has been on-hand in a lab for 10 days or when a sample is found to be unsuitable or empty.

Genotype information will issue to these farmers after passports have issued, but having passports on-farm will allow farmers to keep calves moving from yards in a timely manner if that is a farmer’s wish.

On the issue of farmers not receiving passports in the same order in which batches are sent, the ICBF explained that two labs are used for processing samples, and if batches are split between labs, a short postage delay may affect farmers receiving cards.