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Minister Coughlan announces increased funding to ICBF for Beef Cattle Breeding

The Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Mary Coughlan TD, today announced additional financial support of €450,000 to the Irish Cattle Breeding Federation (ICBF) for beef cattle breeding. This funding is additional to the almost €2 million already committed to ICBF for 2007.

The Minister said that she is more than encouraged by the progress ICBF is making on beef cattle breeding in co-operation with the various stakeholders involved in the industry. Following a meeting which the Minister had with ICBF last week, she is satisfied that huge progress is being made in this area.

The launch of HerdPlus for beef by ICBF at the Ploughing Championships this week is indicative of the progress being made on the beef side and represents a major step forward for suckler herd owners and the beef industry generally. HerdPlus will include €uro-Star reports which will reflect the economic breeding values for individual animals and for the herd in the same way as the Economic Breeding Index (EBI) is used in dairy cattle breeding.

The Minister stated that beef cattle breeding is a long term investment and is very important in improving the quality, profitability and competitiveness of Irish beef production. This extra financial support will enable ICBF to progress further beef cattle breeding and she added: "I look forward to seeing Tully re-open in the near future to ensure that the best of the 2007 Spring born pedigree beef calves across the breeds are performance tested."

25 September, 2007

NOTE FOR EDITORS

EBI: This is the Economic Breeding Index issued by ICBF for dairy cattle which ranks both cows and bulls on the worth or value to Irish dairy farming systems. The index has been developed and changed based on extensive research since it's launch in 2001 and allows dairy farmers to select the most profitable breeding stock for their farms.

€urostar: The new Suckler beef index launched by ICBF is a genetic evaluation index for suckler farmers, similar to the EBI that is used by dairy farmers. The index is designed to be easily understood by farmers, and ranks animals on profitability for Irish farmers using a star rating system (€urostar is the branding system used) whereby an animal with the maximum of 5 stars can be accepted as being better than one with 3 stars.

Further details on both the dairy and beef indexes can be obtained at www.icbf.com

Date Released: 25 September 2007