Farm Ireland
Independent.ie

Tuesday 11 December 2018

ICBF introduces bi-monthly genetic evaluations from new year

There has been a 30pc drop in suckler herd numbers over the last 20 years
There has been a 30pc drop in suckler herd numbers over the last 20 years

EBI evaluations are to undergo a fundamental change to their publication dates and their frequency with effect from the beginning of 2019.

ICBF have announced the introduction of bimonthly genetic evaluations, which should mean that the EBI figures are more up to date and on a more regular basis throughout the year.

The Irish Cattle Breeding Federation are to double the publication frequency from the traditional three times each year, which has been in use for several years, to six bimonthly announcements in the year.

"Historically, there have been three genetic evaluations per year; April, August and December. The genetic evaluations will now be published six times per year, in January, March, May, July, September and November," the ICBF explained. "So EBI and €uro-star figures will now be updated six times per year".

Explaining the reasoning behind the decision, the breeding federation added: "At ICBF we receive data that can inform genetic evaluations on a daily basis. This is information that could be used to increase the reliability of the EBI and €uro-stars and better inform breeding decisions. Currently, this information is only incorporated into the indexes every four months. Farmers who performance record and/or genotype their animals expect to see information to be reflected into the indexes of their animals as quickly as possible".

Dr Francis Kearney from the ICBF said: "This wait could have been several months in the past. As the volumes of data being included in each evaluation will be less, it is anticipated that the average potential changes to an animals index based on new data will be reduced compared to the current schedule.

"With more evaluations, there will also be less of a wait time for the next publication where the previous deadline was missed".

The federation have announced the genetic evaluation publication dates for 2019 and cut-off dates for submission of data and genotype samples. These publication dates and cut-off dates for submission of data can now be viewed at any time the ICBF 'Publication Schedule' which can be found under the 'Genetic Evaluations' dropdown menu at the top of the ICBF web page icbf.ie.

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