Major cattle breeding reform on the agenda
More AI stations among a raft of radical ICBF suggestions
The introduction of multiple AI collection centres using bulls leased from breeders is among a raft of suggestions contained in a discussion document issued by the ICBF. The nine-point discussion document, seen by the Farming Independent, outlines issues for potential changes to the cattle breeding industry.
The document has been distributed to breed societies, AI companies and other stakeholders in recent days.
According to the ICBF, genetic gain has the potential to return €236m to the dairy industry and €60m to the beef industry.
However, capitalising on the full benefits of genomics would require alterations to the conventional AI-focused models, the document says.
The key objectives of any future breeding programme would include maximising long-term genetic gain, providing resources for research and development and minimising the risk of problems such as disease and inbreeding.
Up for discussion is the role of ICBF in identifying elite cows for a breeding programme and providing mating advice to farmers.
Leasing and ownership of bulls is also on the agenda, including the option that AI companies move away from the ownership of bulls in favour of a leasing arrangement with bull breeders.
Multiple rearing units, AI collection centres and semen distribution agents, strategically located across the country, are among the topics of discussion.