Tuesday, February 27, 2024

ICBF to publish genomic results of 620k cows and heifers

ICBF to publish genomic results of 620k cows and heifers. Genomic results of over 620,000 cows and heifers are set to be published today (Friday, January 26) by the Irish Cattle Breeding Federation (ICBF).

These cows and heifers were genotyped during the autumn and winter of 2023 as part of the National Genotyping Programme (NGP). 

Commenting on the publication, the chief executive of ICBF Sean Coughlan, said: “Today marks another very important day in the genetic improvement journey of the national herd. 

“The on-going collaboration between DAFM (Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine), industry, and most importantly, our farmers is critical to achieving these milestones.

“We are only at the start of this national genotyping journey, and there is huge potential to extract increased value for farmers and the wider industry.”

The ICBF has stated that features of their system, including herd profiles and the animal search “will be updated automatically with the latest figures later this evening“. 

The organisation added that “future developments will include a facility for NGP herds to request the genomic parentage information of cows and heifers genotyped in 2023”.

They added that this development “will be made available in the coming weeks”.


The ICBF database now contains over four million genotypes and is one of the largest databases of bovine genotypes globally. 

In terms of the national dairy herd, only 6% of the dairy cows had genotypes this time last year, while over 32% of current dairy cows are now genotyped, the increase largely due to the national genotyping programme.

Dr. Margaret Kelleher, genetics operations manager at ICBF said: “The quality, volume, and depth of data coming from NGP herds will be vastly improved due to the fully verified genetic information provided through the DNA.”

Dr. Kelleher referred to “a mulititude of benefits” for NGP farmers, including “faster genetic gain, precision breeding, DNA registration, enhanced disease resistance, verified CBVs (commercial beef value) on dairy-beef animals”.

She added these benefits would also be for the wider industry by “more accurate evaluations, better breeding programmes, enhanced traceability, increased global competitiveness, reduce GHG output”.

All calves genotyped as part of the NGP will receive a CBV and will have their data displayed on the mart boards. 

Based on animals traded through the marts last year, the ICBF have announced 2024 should see close to 85,000 calves with their CBV displayed on mart boards.

The genomic information available for these calves will provide calf rearers with a greater selection when it comes to sourcing calves from the dairy herd this spring.


ICBF is to host a meeting of the beef industry stakeholder forum next week to discuss changes to the breeding indices for beef animals.

Coughlan told Agriland that the main focus of the meeting will be to address the concerns raised about changes to the beef breed indices.

Meanwhile, the Irish Beef and Lamb Association (IBLA)  is aiming to get a court injunction against the ICBF in order to prevent the latter from publishing animal evaluation results based on the new terminal and replacement beef breeding indices. genomic results of 620k cows.

 IBLA has successfully hit its €5,000 funding target to cover the costs of legal advice in its effort to seek an injunction against the ICBF.