Re-assessing the importance of linear type traits in predicting genetic merit for survival in an aging Holstein-Friesian dairy cow population
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CitationM. Williams, R.D. Sleator, C.P. Murphy, J. McCarthy, D.P. Berry, Re-assessing the importance of linear type traits in predicting genetic merit for survival in an aging Holstein-Friesian dairy cow population, Journal of Dairy Science, Volume 105, Issue 9, 2022, Pages 7550-7563, ISSN 0022-0302, https://doi.org/10.3168/jds.2022-22026.
AbstractThe cumulative improvement achieved in the genetic merit for reproductive performance in dairy populations will likely improve dairy cow longevity; therefore, it is time to reassess whether linear type traits are still suitable predictors of survival in an aging dairy cow population. The objective of the present study was therefore to estimate the genetic correlations between linear type traits and survival from one parity to the next and, in doing so, evaluate if those genetic correlations change with advancing parity. After edits, 152,894 lactation survival records (first to ninth parity) were available from 52,447 Holstein-Friesian cows, along with linear type trait records from 52,121 Holstein-Friesian cows. A series of bivariate random regression models were used to estimate the genetic covariances between survival in different parities and each linear type trait. Heritability estimates for survival per parity ranged from 0.02 (SE = 0.004; first parity) to 0.05 (SE = 0.01; ninth parity). Pairwise genetic correlations between survival among different parities varied from 0.42 (first and ninth parity) to 1.00 (eighth to ninth parity), with the strength of these genetic correlations being inversely related to the interval between the compared parities. The genetic correlations between survival and the individual linear type traits varied across parities for 9 of the 20 linear type traits examined, but the correlations with only 3 of these linear type traits strengthened as the cows aged; these 3 traits were rear udder height, teat length, and udder depth. Given that linear type traits are frequently scored in first parity and are genetically correlated with survival in older parities, they may be suitable early predictors of survival, especially for later parity cows. Additionally, the direction of the genetic correlations between survival and rear udder height, teat length, and udder depth did not change between parities; hence, selection for survival in older parities using these linear type traits should not hinder genetic improvement for survival in younger parities.
FunderDepartment of Agriculture, Food and the Marine; Science Foundation Ireland
Grant Number17/S/235 (GreenBreed); 16/RC/3835 (VistaMilk)
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