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Ireland Launches $54.4M Dairy Cattle Genomics Initiative

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Ireland plans to spend €40 million ($54.4 million) to create a database of genomic information on dairy cows that farmers and researchers can use to improve their animal breeding.

Ireland's Minster for Agriculture, Food, and the Marine Simon Coveney said this week that the investment will include €23 million for a genomics program, €10 million for the Beef Data program, €5 million for the Beef Technology Adoption program, and €2m in residual payments to farmers.

Under the genomics program, around 70,000 farmers will receive €40 per calf to genotype about 550,000 calves and provide that information to the Irish Cattle Breeding Federation (ICBF). The federation will store the genotype information in a database that farmers will be able to use for genomic selection to improve their dairy cows.

The Beef Technology Adoption Program will provide a forum for farmers to share information, develop business plans, and improve their productivity.

"The current use of genomics in dairy animals has helped transform Irish dairy cattle breeding and deliver tangible gains for farmers. Introducing it for the suckler sector will help to accelerate the kind of genetic improvement that will drive efficiency and increase profitability for Irish suckler farmers," Coveney said in a statement.