Relationships between longevity and linear type traits in Holstein cattle population of Southern Africa

M M Setati, D Norris, C B Banga, K Benyi
Tropical Animal Health and Production 2004, 36 (8): 807-14
Relationships between longevity and linear type traits were estimated using data on 34,201 cows with lifetime information and linear type scores. The longevity trait considered was the number of lactations initiated and the linear type traits were rump height, body depth, angularity, rear udder height, fore udder attachment, udder depth, fore teat placement and fore teat length. Fixed effects included in the models were herd year, season of calving and herd-date of classification-classifier and days in milk. Age at first calving and age at classification were included as linear and quadratic covariates. Heritability estimates were low for longevity and moderate for most type traits except rump height and fore teat length. All the phenotypic correlations between longevity and the linear type traits were slightly positive (0.01 to 0.09) except the relationships with rump height and fore teat length which were -0.01 and -0.02, respectively. Genetic correlations between longevity and udder traits as well as angularity were moderate to high and positive (0.22 to 0.48). The only notable negative genetic correlations were longevity with body depth and fore teat length (-0.15 and -0.07, respectively). The genetic correlations suggest that selection for udder traits and angularity should improve longevity in the Holstein cattle population.

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