'New era' for beef with revamped index to add €1bn
A revised national breeding index that has the potential to boost income in the beef sector by €1bn was launched last week at the ICBF/Teagasc Suckler Cow Breeding conference in Tullamore.
Professor Gerry Boyle claimed the launch of the maternal index heralded the commencement of a "new era" for beef breeders.
Prof Boyle said the Euro Star Breeding Index would deliver improved performance for suckler farmers and increased farm income.
"I am really confident that the introduction of this maternal index can, in a very short space of time, address what is a significant gap in performance on Irish suckler farms," he told nearly 400 farmers at the Tullamore Court Hotel.
"I am looking forward immensely to what I see as the commencement of a new era of hope and I hope that is not being over-optimistic in terms of what is possible in improvement of performance in breeding and production in suckler herds," Prof Boyle added.
A two-year review by ICBF and Teagasc has been central to the development of three new indexes.
The maternal, terminal and dairy beef indexes are given Euro Star ratings of one to five. These are applied to all male and female animals used for breeding and provide a guide to beef producers.
Ms Noirin McHugh, Teagasc, Moorepark said that the payback potential for breeders using five-star animals compared to one star was €130 per cow per annum.