There are a number of requirements under the Beef Data and Genomics Programme (BDGP), the Beef Environmental Efficiency Programme –Sucklers (BEEP-S) and the new Dairy-Beef Calf Programme that participating farmers need to be cognisant of.

Starting with BDGP participants using a stock bull must possess at least one genotyped four- or five-star bull on the holding on 30 June 2021. A new rule introduced for 2021 includes where farmers have changed from a stock bull to AI they must notify the Department of this change to ensure payment for this measure is not affected.

Where AI is being used, remember at least 80% of the AI being used on the farm must be from four- or five-star bulls on the replacement index or terminal index. Bulls that receive a genomic evaluation after 30 June may still be eligible provided they are rated four- or five-star once the genomic evaluation is published. The November 2021 evaluation date is the last one where bulls can qualify.

Farmers who have not returned genotype tags received earlier in the year should do so as soon as possible. If animals selected for tagging have been sold, tags for replacement animals can be ordered from the ICBF.

Where AI is being used, remember at least 80% of the AI being used on the farm must be from four- or five-star bulls on the replacement index or terminal index

Or likewise, if issues occurred when tagging an animal resulting in failure to collect a tissue sample then it is important to contact ICBF to organise for a hair sample to be submitted or to receive a replacement tag.

It is also important to keep on top of survey information, with information on calving difficulty, calf vigour, health incidences, weanling quality, cow milkability, stock bull docility and functionality and reasons for culling.

The targets with regards to four- and five-star females are unchanged with BDGP participants required to have 50% of the reference number of females in the herd genotyped four- or five-star on the replacement index by 31 October. It is important to keep on top of this where animals have been sold form the herd. Females must be 16 months or over on 31 October to be eligible. The last date for DNA samples to be submitted for animals to be evaluated and deemed eligible is 7 July 2021.

BEEP-S measures

Autumn calving herds participating in BEEP-S also need to be mindful of the requirements. The principal measure is weighing of the cow and calf on the same day prior to weaning. Weights must be uploaded to the ICBF database within seven days of where weighing has taken place since 1 May 2021.

Scales must be registered with ICBF before weighing takes place and it is important to note that scales registered for the 2020 scheme year have to be registered again for the 2021 scheme year. This action needs to be fully completed before any payment is made.

The optional actions of feeding meal pre-and-post weaning or vaccinating weanlings is also coming into play for an increasing number of herds. If meal feeding is chosen, meal must be fed to weanlings four weeks in advance of weaning and two weeks after weaning. Dockets must be kept for inspection and dates on invoices must correspond with timelines for weaning. Two protocols can be used for the vaccination programme and it is advised to consult with your vet for the optimum programme to suit your herd.

Dairy-Beef Calf programme

Under this scheme a payment of €20/calf is available to a maximum of 20 calves or payment of €400. To be deemed eligible a minimum of five calves must be weighed. Calves must be a minimum of 12 weeks of age at weighing and be present on the farm for at least 10 days before weighing.

Only calves born in 2021 are eligible for payment. Male calves of a dairy breed or a male or female calf which has been sired by a beef breed and born to a dairy dam are eligible for inclusion.