Figures collated by the Irish Cattle Breeding Federation (ICBF) show that 3,658 herds possessing 547,502 cows have enrolled to the National Genotyping Programme.
The figures are in line with targets for the programme of 600,000 dairy cows and their followers, and 200,000 suckler cows and their followers. While the closing date for entries from dairy herds has passed, there is no deadline date announced for suckler herds.
As detailed in Table 1, Cork tops the number of entries, accounting for 28.7% of herds enrolled and 28.4% of cows. Tipperary is next up, accounting for 11.7% of herds and 13% of total cow numbers. This is not surprising given that the two counties combined possess in the region of 40% of the national dairy herd.
The average herd size is 150 cows, signalling that the herd breakdown is veering towards larger herds. Meath has the highest average herd size of 237 cows, followed by Kildare (191) and Westmeath (191).
The fact that the number of cows entered is less than 600,000 head, means that all dairy farmers will be accepted in to the scheme and look set to have all cows genotyped free of charge in year one. Genotyping will take place over the coming months. The programme will offer subsidised genotyping for animals for the next four years, with a maximum cost of €6/calf, including the cost of the tag.