The genotyping programme aims to enhance animal breeding, food traceability and lower emissions.

Some €23m in Brexit Adjustment Reserve (BAR) funding will finance the first year of the programme. Funding for years two to five of the five-year programme will be sourced from farmers, industry and the Department of Agriculture.

Tim Cullinan said the rollout of the scheme is a positive development for the sector.

“The rollout of this scheme will help us identify and breed from bovines that emit less methane. It will assist farmers in breeding better beef-merit calves, and it will also better inform farmers purchasing livestock by providing verified genetic proofs on the stock they are buying. Ultimately, it will also allow us to verify the origin of Irish beef no matter where it is being sold in the world.

“There are issues about how the funding model has been constructed and the fact that this funding is coming from the Brexit Adjustment Reserve (BAR) when the Department has ruled so many other valid proposals to be ineligible for BAR support. The Minister must ensure that the full BAR funding is spent before the end of 2023 deadline or the Government must seek an extension to that deadline,” Cullinan said.

He went on to state: “However, looking at the bigger picture for the sector, this is a very positive step. Our livestock and dairy sector is the most sustainable in the world, but we must stay ahead of the game.”

“We can use innovations like this to reduce our emissions, while contributing to the economic, social and environmental sustainability of farm families in rural Ireland,” he said.