Following strong resistance and ongoing lobbying from farmers; breed societies and leading farm organisations, the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine and the Irish Cattle Breeding Federation have withdrawn €uro-star ratings.
It has been reported that the major amendment to the Beef Data and Genomics Programme comes on the back of concerns raised by 50% of programme participants who claim that they will fail to meet the requirements as part of the female replacement strategy of the scheme.
The programme’s key criteria required farmers to have 20% of beef heifers/ suckler cows with a four or five-star replacement rating by 31st October 2018.
Speaking to That's Farming, a number of suckler-beef farmers welcomed the development highlighting that they felt this was a "step in the right direction" in a bid to "maintain and improve the genetic merit of Irish suckler beef herds", stressing that "the scheme placed too much of an emphasis on maternal bulls and closed the door on terminal traits."
One well-esteemed pedigree breeder told That’s Farming that the removal of this aspect of the scheme is "positive, as the terms and conditions of the programme put the quality and confirmation of suckler cattle in hot water and would prevent access to premium and export markets in the future".
Sitting on the other side of the fence, other farmers informed That's Farming that they felt that €uro-star ratings “laid the foundation for the suckler sector”, as the €uro-star data combined with genomic proofs assist to identify the herd’s best breeding females.
That's Farming have contacted both the DAFM and the ICBF and await a response regarding this development. We almost had you didn't we?