Dairy Cows of High Genetic Merit for Yields of Milk, Fat and Protein - Review -

  • Norman, H.D. (Animal Improvement Programs Laboratory, Agricultural Research Service USDA) ;
  • Powell, R.L. (Animal Improvement Programs Laboratory, Agricultural Research Service USDA)
  • Published : 1999.12.01


Extensive emphasis on milk and milk fat yields with no diversion for beef performance increased the yield efficiency of North American dairy cattle. Heavy demand for North American genetics followed national strain comparison trials in Poland, and US and Canadian dairy cattle and germplasm still are an important source of genetics for many countries. Genetic improvement has accelerated in many countries because of the implementation of sampling programs for young bulls and improved evaluation procedures. Rapid access to information and more frequent calculation of genetic information also are having a positive impact on genetic improvement. Traits other than yield should be considered in a breeding program, but those traits mist have a reasonable opportunity for improvement and sufficient economic worth. Because of ever increasing efficiency, the world's milk supply comes from fewer cows each year. However, no decline in the rate of genetic improvement is apparent under current genetic practices; estimates of heritability are increasing, and a decline in yield efficiency is unlikely in the near future. As management improves, especially for subtropical conditions, many of the selection principles used in temperate climates will be adopted for more adverse environmental conditions.


Dairy Cattle;Yield;Milk;Fat;Protein;Genetic Merit

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