Short communication: genetic effects of heat stress on days open for Thai Holstein crossbreds

W Boonkum, I Misztal, M Duangjinda, V Pattarajinda, S Tumwasorn, S Buaban
Journal of Dairy Science 2011, 94 (3): 1592-6
Seasonality of days open (DO) for Thai crossbred Holsteins was examined and genetic effects of heat stress on DO open were determined. Data included 18,413 records for first and second parities of 12,162 cows that calved between 1990 and 2006. Least squares means for DO were estimated using a model with fixed effects of herd-year of calving, breed group based on percentage of Holstein genetics, calving month, calving age, and parity. A reaction norm model and solutions for calving month were used to calculate a heat stress index. Variance components were estimated with a multitrait random regression model. Days open were greatest for cows calving in March (summer) and fewest in October (late rainy season) for all breed groups and parities. Estimates of additive genetic and residual variances and heritability varied by calving month. Residual variances increased and additive genetic variance decreased with percentage of Holstein genetics and parity. Heritability estimates for DO ranged from 7.1 to 8.4% for first-parity cows with <87.5% Holstein genetics, 5.9 to 8.0% for 87.5 to 93.6% Holstein genetics, and 5.8 to 7.8% for ≥93.7% Holstein genetics and from 6.3 to 7.9, 4.9 to 7.3, and 4.5 to 7.7% for the corresponding breed groups for second parity. Genetic correlations between additive genetic effects on DO with and without heat stress considered were 0.43 for first-parity cows with <87.5% Holstein genetics, 0.46 for those with 87.5 to 93.6% Holstein genetics, and 0.52 for those with ≥93.7% Holstein genetics; correlations were 0.46, 0.51, and 0.55 for the corresponding breed groups for second parity. Effect of heat stress on DO was greater for second than first parity and was particularly large for cows with ≥93.7% Holstein genetics. Fewer DO can be achieved in Thailand through selective breeding of cows with <87.5% Holstein genetics.

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