Genetic Relationship between Milk Production, Calving Ease and Days Open at First Parity in Holstein Cows

  • Lee, D.H. (Department of Animal Life and Resources, Hankyong National University) ;
  • Han, K.J. (Dairy Herd Improvement Center, NACF)
  • Received : 2002.11.14
  • Accepted : 2003.09.17
  • Published : 2004.02.01


Data containing 14,188 lactation and reproductive records of Korean Holstein cows at first parity distributed across 3,734 herd-year-season groups were analyzed to get genetic (co)variance estimates for milk yield, fat yield, calving ease, and days open. Milk and Fat yields were adjusted to 305 d. Heritabilities and genetic correlations were estimated in two different animal models on which were included direct genetic effects (Model 1) and direct+maternal genetic effects (Model 2) using REML algorithms. Milk and fat yields were affected by age at first calving as linear and quadratic. Heritability estimates of direct effects were 0.25 for milk yield, 0.17 for fat yield, 0.03 for calving ease and 0.03 for days open in Model 2. These estimates for maternal effects were 0.05, 0.08, 0.04 and less than 0.01 for each corresponding trait. Milk productions at first lactation were to show genetically favorable correlation with calving ease and days open for direct genetic effects (-0.24 - -0.11). Moreover, calving ease was correlated with days open of 0.30 for direct genetic effects. Correlations between direct and maternal effects for each trait were negatively correlated (-0.63 - -0.32). This study suggested that maternal additive genetic variance would be not ignorable for genetic evaluation of milk production as well as reproductive traits such as calving ease and days open at first parity. Furthermore, difficult calving would genetically influence the next conception.


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