Effect of heat stress on nonreturn rate in Holstein cows: genetic analyses

O Ravagnolo, I Misztal
Journal of Dairy Science 2002, 85 (11): 3092-100
The genetic component in heat tolerance for nonreturn rate in Holsteins was estimated using an animal linear model augmented by a random regression on a temperature-humidity index (THI). Data consisted of 18,059 nonreturn rates at 45,60, and 90 d after insemination and 81,674 first-parity test-day milk yields from 78 herds in Florida. The THI on the day of insemination or test day was added to each record. Only first-insemination records were used. The model for nonreturn rate included the effects of herd-year-season, age, days in milk, milk yield, THI as a covariable, regular additive effect, and random regression on THI for heat-tolerance additive effect. With a single-trait model, heritability estimates for NR45, NR60, and NR90 at THI = 70 for first-lactation cows were 0.006, 0.014, and 0.053, respectively. Genetic correlation between regular NR90 and heat tolerance was -0.95. A bivariate analysis for NR90 and test-day milk production yielded a correlation between regular merit and heat tolerance for NR90 of -0.35, substantially lower than by the univariate model, indicating a bias in the univariate estimates caused by ignored selection. The regular genetic correlation between NR90 and milk yield was -0.41. Genetic correlation between heat tolerance for NR90 and heat tolerance for milk yield was -0.04, indicating the need to separate selection.

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