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Independent.ie

Saturday 25 March 2017

ICBF and Charolais breeders clash over bull ratings

Darragh McCullough

Darragh McCullough

The Charolais society claim that breeding bulls will lose out in the sales ring due to the absence of the data.
The Charolais society claim that breeding bulls will lose out in the sales ring due to the absence of the data.

Tensions between the Charolais Society and the Irish Cattle Breeding Federation (ICBF) have been strained to breaking point following the exclusion of linear scores for many of the bulls entered into the breed's annual December sale.

A change in the way that ICBF processes the data for the genetic evaluations resulted in breeders that got their animals' linear-scored after early July were too late to have the data included in the August evaluations, which are the basis of the breeding information included in the catalogue for the December sale.

The Charolais society claim that breeding bulls will lose out in the sales ring due to the absence of the data.

"My phone is hopping morning, noon and night with breeders getting hit right, left and centre with the way ICBF is carrying on," said the Charolais society president, Kevin Maguire.

"Breeders paid ICBF in good faith to score their animals because the linear score generally helps the animals' rating. There's about 30 breeders affected, and we have to get this sorted, but we're only getting lip service from the ICBF," said Mr Maguire.

In response, ICBF CEO Sean Coughlan said that he had already looked for a meeting with the Charolais society to try to sort out a range of issues.

"The timelines for generating the genetic evaluations changed when we included the genomic data, which is a major step forward, because the accuracy of all the data has improved by up to 20pc," said Mr Coughlan.

Process


"So we don't have any wriggle room on how this process works, and maybe we could have done more to let individual breeders know that we were changing how the system operates.

"But the fact is that we are still getting the data out there a lot faster than other countries, and even without the linear scores, the data included in the catalogue is more accurate than before," he said.

However, the ICBF boss also cautioned buyers to use common sense when buying bulls.

"The star ratings are just a tool - your eyes are another - you should use both when buying an animal.

"So even if the animal has a super rating, if they look terrible, you should factor that into what you are prepared to pay."

Mr Maguire said that his society would stop cooperating with ICBF if a solution isn't found.

"Unless this issue is addressed immediately then the continued 'cooperation' between ICBF and the society is at risk of being discontinued. The Charolais council must and will do everything in its power to protect its members."

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