Revised ICBF beef indexes discussed at IFA National Council

At a recent meeting of IFA National Council, a number of county chairs and members of the Council raised concerns about the revisions to the beef indexes.

The issue was referred to the IFA National Livestock Committee which has invited the Chief Executive of the Irish Cattle Breeding Federation (ICBF) to address their next meeting.

IFA President Tim Cullinan said genetic improvement based both on science and ever-changing economics was vital to improve the profitability of all farming sectors, but that it must have the general support of farmers.

“ICBF have committed to attend our Livestock Committee and other meetings around the country in the coming weeks. This will improve the understanding of the changes amongst farmers. After this the National Council will revisit the issue,” he said.

In the interim, assurances have been given that changes to the beef indexes will not impact on farmers who have just entered the Suckler Cow Efficiency Scheme (SCEP). Cows that currently have a 4 or 5-star rating under the existing beef indexes will retain this rating throughout the scheme once they remain within their current herd.

Farmers with cows and heifers over 16-month that increase to 4 or 5-star because of the revised indexes will benefit from the new index for this year in SCEP.

Tim Cullinan said no farmer in SCEP can be negatively impacted for the duration of the scheme from changes to the indices that have occurred since the scheme commenced. The next relevant date for farmers in SCEP to meet the replacement requirements is not for two years, on October 31st, 2025.