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dc.contributor.authorRing, S.C.
dc.contributor.authorEvans, R.D.
dc.contributor.authorCromie, A.R.
dc.contributor.authorBerry, D.P.
dc.identifier.citationS.C. Ring, R.D. Evans, A.R. Cromie, D.P. Berry, Cross-sectional analyses of a national database to determine if superior genetic merit translates to superior dairy cow performance, Journal of Dairy Science, Volume 104, Issue 7, 2021, Pages 8076-8093, ISSN 0022-0302,
dc.description.abstractVarious studies have validated that genetic divergence in dairy cattle translates to phenotypic differences; nonetheless, many studies that consider the breeding goal, or associated traits, have generally been small scale, often undertaken in controlled environments, and they lack consideration for the entire suite of traits included in the breeding goal. Therefore, the objective of the present study was to fill this void, and in doing so, provide producers with confidence that the estimated breeding values (EBV) included in the breeding goal do (or otherwise) translate to desired changes in performance among commercial cattle; an additional outcome of such an approach is the identification of potential areas for improvements. Performance data on 536,923 Irish dairy cows (and their progeny) from 13,399 commercial spring-calving herds were used. Association analyses between the cow's EBV of each trait included in the Irish total merit index for dairy cows (which was derived before her own performance data accumulated) and her subsequent performance were undertaken using linear mixed models; milk production, fertility, calving, maintenance (i.e., liveweight), beef, health, and management traits were all considered in the analyses. Results confirm that excelling in EBV for individual traits, as well as on the total merit index, generally delivers superior phenotypic performance; examples of the improved performance for genetically elite animals include a greater yield and concentration of both milk fat and milk protein, despite a lower milk volume, superior reproductive performance, better survival, improved udder and hoof health, lighter cows, and fewer calving complications; all these gains were achieved with minimal to no effect on the beef merit of the dairy cow's progeny. The associated phenotypic change in each performance trait per unit change in its respective EBV was largely in line with the direction and magnitude of expectation, the exception being for calving interval. Per unit change in calving interval EBV, the direction of phenotypic response was as anticipated but the magnitude of the response was only half of what was expected. Despite the deviation from expectation between the calving interval EBV and its associated phenotype, a superior total merit index or a superior fertility EBV was indeed associated with an improvement in all detailed fertility performance phenotypes investigated. Results substantiate that breeding is a sustainable strategy of improving phenotypic performance in commercial dairy cattle and, by extension, profit.en_US
dc.relation.ispartofseriesJournal of Dairy Science;Vol 104
dc.rights© 2021 American Dairy Science Association®.
dc.rightsAttribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International*
dc.subjectanimal breedingen_US
dc.subjectdairy cattleen_US
dc.subjectmilk productionen_US
dc.subjectreproductive performanceen_US
dc.titleCross-sectional analyses of a national database to determine if superior genetic merit translates to superior dairy cow performanceen_US
dc.contributor.sponsorScience Foundation Irelanden_US
dc.contributor.sponsorDepartment of Agriculture, Food and the Marineen_US
dc.contributor.sponsorGrantNumber16/RC/3835 (VistaMilk)en_US
dc.source.journaltitleJournal of Dairy Science

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© 2021 American Dairy Science Association®.
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