Title & Authors
Study on Genetic Evaluation for Linear Type Traits in Holstein Cows
Lee, Deukhwan; Oh, Sang; Whitley, Niki C.;
The objectives of this study were to i) investigate genetic performance for linear type traits of individual Holstein dairy cows, especially focusing on comparative traits, and to estimate genetic variances for these traits using actual data, and ii) compare genetic performance and improvement of progeny by birth country of the cows. Linear type traits defined with five comparative traits on this study were general stature composite (GSC), dairy capacity composite (DCC), body size composite (BSC), foot and leg composite (FLC), and udder composite (UDC). These traits were scored from 1 to 6 with 1 = poor, 2 = fair, 3 = good, 4 = good plus, 5 = very good and 6 = excellent. Final scores (FS) were also included in this study. Data used was collected from the years 2000 to 2004 by the Korea Animal Improvement Association (KAIA). Only data of more than five tested cows by herd appraisal date and by sires having more than ten daughters were included to increase the reliability of the data analyses. A total of 30,204 records of the selected traits, which was collected from 26,701 individuals having pedigree information were used. Herd appraisal date, year of age, lactation stage (grouped by month), and time lagged for milking (in hours) were assumed as fixed effects on the model. Animal additive genetic effects considering pedigree relationship and residual errors were assumed with random effects. Year of age at appraisal date was classified from one to nine years of age, assigning the value of nine years of age for animals that were greater than or equal to nine years of age. From our results, the estimate for heritability was 0.463, 0.346, 0.473, 0.290, and 0.430 on GSC, DCC, BSC, FLC and UDC, respectively. The estimate for FS heritability was 0.539. The greatest breeding values for GSC were estimated for Canada, with the breeding values for American lines increasing for 10 years starting in 1989 but tending to decrease after that until 2004. For DCC, the breeding values for American and Canadian lines showed similar patterns until 1999, after which the breeding values for the American lines declined sharply. For BSC, data from Korea, Canada and the USA followed similar trends overall except when the breeding values of the American lines decreased starting in 1999. Overall, the methods used to evaluate genetic performance in this study were acceptable and allowed for the discovery of differences by country of genetic origin, likely due in part to the American use of selection indexes based primarily on milk yield traits until methods for evaluating other traits began to emerge.