Following on from That’s Farming’s report into the ICBF call for voluntary on farm inspections of the BDGP scheme we asked our readers to let us know your thoughts. 805 of farmers surveyed felt that the scheme was poorly delivered. The feeling has been echoed by many leaders in the industry.
The row about ICBF's Beef Data and Genomics Programme (BDGP) is raising heckles amongst breeders. ICBF want to initiate voluntary on-farm inspections to put an end to accusations that some breeders have falsified information about their animals.
Nevan McKiernan of the Irish Charolais Cattle Society told That's Farming: “Of course we will participate as long as its simple to do so. As long as it's not too difficult, it'll be beneficial for breeders and ICBF. If it makes the indexes more accurate we're all for it.”
However Nevan does not think the details the scheme have been fully worked out: “We have worries. One is, if heavy cows in calf were going up crushes they might be hurt. The other is the cost of a day spent herding cattle into the yard and examining them. We would also be concerned about the danger to older farmers of getting young calves up in scales.”
If these details can be worked out Nevan feels the scheme will be supportive to breeders. “It will help farmers selling bulls and it will back up genomics. But I wouldn't like to see a day when figures are based on genomics alone. We need on-farm performance information too. We'd hope it will improve the indexes of charolais cows.
“It might help to identify false information, but there's no guarantee it will. I don't think there's an awful lot of breeders putting down false information. I think that's unfair. You may have that [happening], but the way it was put out there by the newspapers was completely unfair. Everybody was on the breeders backs but they were the people contributing the information to ICBF.
Interestingly despite the scheme’s critics 67% of polled readers believed the scheme should continue mirroring what many breed societies are also saying.
There was a mixed reaction to the ICBF farm inspection idea itself with 49% believing they were a good idea.