Genetic effects of heat stress on milk yield of Thai Holstein crossbreds

W Boonkum, I Misztal, M Duangjinda, V Pattarajinda, S Tumwasorn, J Sanpote
Journal of Dairy Science 2011, 94 (1): 487-92
The threshold for heat stress on milk yield of Holstein crossbreds under climatic conditions in Thailand was investigated, and genetic effects of heat stress on milk yield were estimated. Data included 400,738 test-day milk yield records for the first 3 parities from 25,609 Thai crossbred Holsteins between 1990 and 2008. Mean test-day milk yield ranged from 12.6 kg for cows with <87.5% Holstein genetics to 14.4 kg for cows with ≥93.7% Holstein genetics. Daily temperature and humidity data from 26 provincial weather stations were used to calculate a temperature-humidity index (THI). Test-day milk yield varied little with THI for first parity except above a THI of 82 for cows with ≥93.7% Holstein genetics. For third parity, test-day milk yield started to decline after a THI of 74 for cows with ≥87.5% Holstein genetics and declined more rapidly after a THI of 82. A repeatability test-day model with parities as correlated traits was used to estimate heat stress parameters; fixed effects included herd-test month-test year and breed groups, days in milk, calving age, and parity; random effects included 2 additive genetic effects, regular and heat stress, and 2 permanent environment, regular and heat stress. The threshold for effect of heat stress on test-day milk yield was set to a THI of 80. All variance component estimates increased with parity; the largest increases were found for effects associated with heat stress. In particular, genetic variance associated with heat stress quadrupled from first to third parity, whereas permanent environmental variance only doubled. However, permanent environmental variance for heat stress was at least 10 times larger than genetic variance. Genetic correlations among parities for additive effects without heat stress considered ranged from 0.88 to 0.96. Genetic correlations among parities for additive effects of heat stress ranged from 0.08 to 0.22, and genetic correlations between effects regular and heat stress effects ranged from -0.21 to -0.33 for individual parities. Effect of heat stress on Thai Holstein crossbreds increased greatly with parity and was especially large after a THI of 80 for cows with a high percentage of Holstein genetics (≥93.7%). Individual sensitivity to heat stress was more environmental than genetic for Thai Holstein crossbreds.

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