Genomic Pilot Scheme  

Genomics is currently the most advanced scientific method for parentage verification. It is now used as part of the IHFA registration process. Parentage verification is required to maintain the integrity of the Herdbook and the pedigree status of your herd.   

Genomics is of huge benefit to all dairy farmers. The advantages are that the registered breeding bull is parentage verified and receives genomic breeding values. This offers great assurance that the breeding bull will deliver for all dairy farmers. 


IHFA is now offering a pilot scheme to members 

 A batch of females – 10 or more – can be genomically tested for the cost of €24 per sample.  This is a cost-effective mechanism to verify the sire of the offspring in cases where two or more breeding bulls are left run with the herd. This test will provide a sire check and genomic value for the female progeny, providing all bulls used have been genomically tested.  This scheme offering is on the basis of using hair card only. Use of tissue sample is not acceptable. 

When taking a hair sample for genomic testing, follow these simple steps to avoid re-call: 

  • Take the sample from the swish end of the tail, with roots attached 
  • Make sure the hair sample is dry and clean 
  • Store samples in a fridge  
  • Post to the lab regularly. Do not leave in direct sun, such as near windows. 

 See this step-by-step explanation

Note: Hairs extracted from other parts of the coat will result in a poor test sample.  It is vital that samples are stored in cool dry place out of direct sunlight.  Please take care to follow the above steps as you will be charged for a re-test. 

If you would like to avail of this offer, contact the IHFA Office email or call 023 8833443 

Process to verify parentage and genomic proof: 

  • When a hair sample is received for parentage verification and genomics, it is first sent to Weatherby’s Laboratory where the DNA is extracted. 
  • This sequencing is then sent to ICBF to verify the parentage & genomics. 
  • If there is not sufficient readable DNA in the extraction process, official genomic proof and sire verification cannot be published. 
  • A repeat hair card is then sent to the breeder (classed as a recall). 
  • On receipt of the second sample the laboratory will repeat the process and send it to ICBF again for Genomic and parentage verification.
  • If sufficient data is extracted the registration process can be completed. 
  • It is imperative that a good hair sample with plenty roots is pulled from the swish of the tail. See here for demonstration. It is important that the hair is completely dry and as clean as possible. Use gloves to avoid contamination. 

DNA Testing 

Where genomics is not available on the Irish database for either parent, IHFA also provide a DNA (microsatellite) parentage testing service to its members. A DNA testing kit is available, upon request from our office.  This service is facilitated by the Weatherbys Ireland laboratory in Naas, Co Kildare. 

For instructions on how to take samples, see this step-by-step explanation

For further information on DNA parentage testing please contact our office at 023 8833443 or email