Genetic evaluation of bulls and cows with single- and multiple-country test-day models

J Jamrozik, L R Schaeffer, K A Weigel
Journal of Dairy Science 2002, 85 (6): 1617-22
First-lactation milk yield test-day records on cows from Australia, Canada, Italy, and New Zealand were analyzed by single- and multiple-country random regression models. Models included fixed effects of herd-test day and breed composition-age at calving-season of calving by days in milk, and random regressions with Legendre polynomials of order four for animal genetic and permanent environmental effects. Milk yields in different countries were defined as genetically different traits for the purpose of multiple-trait model. Estimated breeding values of bulls and cows from single- and multiple-trait models were compared within and across countries for two traits: total milk yield in lactation and lactation persistency, defined as the linear coefficient of animal genetic curve. Correlations between single- and multiple-trait evaluations within country for total yield were higher than 0.95 for bulls and close to 1 for cows. Correlations for lactation persistency were lower than respective correlations for total yield. Between country correlations for lactation yield ranged from 0.93 to 0.96, indicating different ranking of bulls on different country scales under multiple-trait model. Lactation persistency had in general lower between-country correlations, with the highest values for Canada-Italy and Australia-New Zealand pairs, for both single- and multiple-country models. Although multiple-country random regression test-day model was computationally feasible for four countries, the same would not be true for routine international genetic evaluation in the near future.

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