Anger is growing at ICBF changes

ANGER is continuing to grow in farming circles over the ‘mid-stream changes’ introduced by the ICBF (Irish Cattle Breeding Federation) in relation to beef breed indexes.

This week, ICBF have been accused of not consulting with farmers over the changes which will have major implications for suckler farmers and beef breed societies right across the country.

Galway IFA Chair, Stephen Canavan, said that the manner in which the changes had been introduced by ICBF was ‘completely out of order’ with an agenda of emissions reductions being pedalled.

“The introduction of new items on the breed index assessment such as early maturity and feed conversion at this point is completely unfair to suckler farmers.

“The agenda seems to be to bring smaller animals to the fore and these items weren’t flagged at the start of the scheme. There has been a complete failure by ICBF to involve farmers in this process,” said Stephen Canavan.

He added that ICBF seemed to be ‘answerable to nobody’ and had now ‘changed the goal posts just 10 minutes into the match’ with farmers being unfairly penalised.

“ICBF don’t seem to realise that farmers breeding replacements are involved in a two-year cycle. What happens, for example, the farmer who last June used a five-star bull on his cows and heifers, and who now finds that this terminal reference has now been downgraded to three-stars,” he said.

Some breeds like Simmentals, he added, who had over the years produced excellent progeny now found themselves being frowned upon in the ICBF ratings.

“ICBF don’t seem to realise where the market is for cattle. It all goes back to a failure by ICBF to involve the most important people in the process – namely the farmers,” he said.

Pictured: Galway IFA Chair, Stephen Canavan



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