Genetic Aspects of Persistency of Milk Yield in Boutsico Dairy Sheep

  • Kominakis, A.P. (Department of Animal Breeding and Husbandry, Agricultural University of Athens) ;
  • Rogdakis, E. (Department of Animal Breeding and Husbandry, Agricultural University of Athens) ;
  • Koutsotolis, K. (Agricultural Research Station)
  • Received : 2001.07.24
  • Accepted : 2001.10.18
  • Published : 2002.03.01


Test-day records (n=13677) sampled from 896 ewes in 5-9 (${\mu}$=7.5) monthly test-days were used to estimate genetic and phenotypic parameters of test-day yields, lactation milk yield (TMY), length of the milking period (DAYS) and three measures of persistency of milk yield in Boutsico dairy sheep. Τhe measures of persistency were the slope of the regression line (${\beta}$), the coefficient of variation (CV) of the test-day milk yields and the maximum to average daily milk yield ratio (MA). The estimates of variance components were obtained under a linear mixed model by restricted maximum likelihood. The heritability of test-day yields ranged from 0.15 to 0.24. DAYS were found to be heritable ($h^2$=0.11). Heritability estimates of ${\beta}$, CV and MA were 0.15, 0.13, 0.10, respectively. Selection for maximum lactation yields is expected to result in prolonged milking periods, high rates of decline of yields after peak production, variable test-day yields and higher litter sizes. Selection for flatter lactation curves would reduce lactation yields, increase slightly the length of the milking period and decrease yield variation as well as litter size. The most accurate prediction of TMY was obtained with a linear regression model with the first five test-day records.


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