ICBF and Sheep Ireland Genetics Conference 2020

ICBF and Sheep Ireland Genetics Conference 2020

On Friday (January 17th, 2020) the ICBF & Sheep Ireland Genetics Conference was held in the Heritage Hotel, Portarligton. There were 6 speakers in this session covering a wide rage of areas relating to genetics and genetic gain in Sheep as well as  8 speaker cover all things Dairy and Beef.  There was a fantastic attendance at the event with over 80 people in the Sheep session alone and over 250 across the whole event with an across section of the industry in attendance. We also held the LambPlus Awards for the Most Improved LambPlus Flock and the highest Achieving LambPlus Flock.

An Afternoon Panel Discussion on ‘’Social License – Working with the consumer to tackle today’s challenges’’

After lunch the conference hosted a Panel Discussion. Our Key Note Speaker Senator Ian Marshall brought his own perspective to discussed Social license, environmental impact and how these matters will effect the consumers buying decisions. Some of the key messages from the discussion was that Ireland has one of the most sustainable farming systems in the world, but we do have competition. We also need to sell our message better. Senator Marshall said: “From 1990 up to 2016 that there has been a 27.8% reduction in Irish agricultural emissions” but nobody talks about that.

We need to do what we can to stay world leaders in sustainability, but we can not expect the extra burden of this to only fall on the shoulders of farmers, we need an entire chain approach from farm to fork. The other clear message from the discussion was that breeding will have a large part to play in increasing sustainability by breeding more efficient animals which has the upside of being more profitable also.


Sheep Presentations from the conference can be found below

  1. Kevin McDermott, Sheep Ireland Manager
  2. Prof. Donagh Berry, Teagasc
  3. Dr. Thierry Pabiou, Sheep Ireland
  4. Eamon Wall, Sheep Ireland & OviData
  5. Dr. Aine O’Brien, Teagasc
  6. Dr. Noirin McHugh, Teagasc

Three Minute Thesis

Edel O’Connor – ‘Selecting Sheep for Reduced Methane Emissions’

Nicola Fetherstone – ‘Genetic Benefits of Using High Genetic Merit Rams from New Zealand or Ireland in the Irish Sheep Industry’

Shauna Fitzmaurice – ‘Development of International Genetic Evaluations in Sheep’

View all three thesis presentations here and to read more about the students click here.


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