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Estimation of genetic parameters of the productive and reproductive traits in Ethiopian Holstein using multi-trait models

  • Ayalew, Wondossen (Wolkite University College of Agriculture and Natural Resource) ;
  • Aliy, Mohammed (Jimma University College of Agriculture and Veterinary Medicine) ;
  • Negussie, Enyew (Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke), Biometrical Genetics)
  • Received : 2017.03.13
  • Accepted : 2017.06.13
  • Published : 2017.11.01

Abstract

Objective: This study estimated the genetic parameters for productive and reproductive traits. Methods: The data included production and reproduction records of animals that have calved between 1979 and 2013. The genetic parameters were estimated using multivariate mixed models (DMU) package, fitting univariate and multivariate mixed models with average information restricted maximum likelihood algorithm. Results: The estimates of heritability for milk production traits from the first three lactation records were $0.03{\pm}0.03$ for lactation length (LL), $0.17{\pm}0.04$ for lactation milk yield (LMY), and $0.15{\pm}0.04$ for 305 days milk yield (305-d MY). For reproductive traits the heritability estimates were, $0.09{\pm}0.03$ for days open (DO), $0.11{\pm}0.04$ for calving interval (CI), and $0.47{\pm}0.06$ for age at first calving (AFC). The repeatability estimates for production traits were $0.12{\pm}0.02$, for LL, $0.39{\pm}0.02$ for LMY, and $0.25{\pm}0.02$ for 305-d MY. For reproductive traits the estimates of repeatability were $0.19{\pm}0.02$ for DO, and to $0.23{\pm}0.02$ for CI. The phenotypic correlations between production and reproduction traits ranged from $0.08{\pm}0.04$ for LL and AFC to $0.42{\pm}0.02$ for LL and DO. The genetic correlation among production traits were generally high (>0.7) and between reproductive traits the estimates ranged from $0.06{\pm}0.13$ for AFC and DO to $0.99{\pm}0.01$ between CI and DO. Genetic correlations of productive traits with reproductive traits were ranged from -0.02 to 0.99. Conclusion: The high heritability estimates observed for AFC indicated that reasonable genetic improvement for this trait might be possible through selection. The $h^2$ and r estimates for reproductive traits were slightly different from single versus multi-trait analyses of reproductive traits with production traits. As single-trait method is biased due to selection on milk yield, a multi-trait evaluation of fertility with milk yield is recommended.

Keywords

Genetic Parameter;Multi-trait Model;Holstein Friesian;Productive and Reproductive Traits

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