Genetic analysis of milk production traits of polish black and white cattle using large-scale random regression test-day models

T Strabel, J Jamrozik
Journal of Dairy Science 2006, 89 (8): 3152-63
Genetic parameters for milk, fat, and protein yield and persistency in the first 3 lactations of Polish Black and White cattle were estimated. A multiple-lactation model was applied with random herd-test-day effect, fixed regressions for herd-year and age-season of calving, and random regressions for the additive genetic and permanent environmental effects. Three data sets with slightly different edits on minimal number of days in milk and the size of herd-year class were used. Each subset included more than 0.5 million test-day records and more than 58,000 cows. Estimates of covariance components and genetic parameters for each trait were obtained by Bayesian methods using the Gibbs sampler. Due to the large size and a good structure of the data, no differences in estimates were found when additional criteria for record selection were applied. More than 95% of the genetic variance for all traits and lactations was explained by the first 2 principal components, which were associated with the mean yield and lactation persistency. Heritabilities of 305-d milk yield in the first 3 lactations (0.18, 0.16, 0.17) were lower than those for fat (0.12, 0.11, 0.12) and protein (0.13, 0.14, 0.15). Estimates of daily heritabilities increased in general with days in milk for all traits and lactations, with no apparent abnormalities at the beginning or end of lactation. Genetic correlations between yields in different lactations ranged from 0.74 (fat yield in lactations 1 and 3) to 0.89 (milk yield in lactations 2 and 3). Persistency of lactation was defined as the linear regression coefficient of the lactation curve. Heritability of persistency increased with lactation number for all traits and genetic correlations between persistency in different lactations were smaller than those for 305d yield. Persistency was not genetically correlated with the total yield in lactation.

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