An industry-wide plan has been agreed in principle to genotype 800,000 cows in 2023, the Irish Farmers Journal understands.

It is understood that the Department of Agriculture, ICBF, representatives of the meat and dairy industries, and the farm organisations have finally agreed common ground after months of negotiations.

It is anticipated the new scheme will kick off in July with calves from these cows genotyped in 2024.

The plan initially is that 800,000 cows (both suckler and dairy) will be genotyped this summer. The cost will be carried mainly through funding from the Brexit Adjustment Reserve (BAR).

The farmers who voluntarily take part in the scheme to genotype their cows this summer will have to commit to genotyping all calves born next year.

The cost of genotyping the calves next year will be funded through a three-way partnership by the Department, the industry and a farmer contribution. It is expected that the cost to the farmer might be in the order of €2.50 to €3 per calf next spring.

Normal replacement rates

Some 500,000 cows have already been genotyped (400,000 sucklers and 100,000 dairy), so if 800,000 cows were done this year, and assuming normal replacement rates and so on, the proportion of the national herd not genotyped would quickly become very small.

The whole deal is subject to BAR funding approval by the Department of Public Expenditure.

Assuming a positive outcome on that front, it is hoped that applications would open in May or June, so that sampling could commence in July.

The advantages to both the dairy and suckler sector in terms of improving efficiencies and environmental ambitions would be significant.