Breed differences over time and heritability estimates for production and reproduction traits of dairy goats in the United States

T B García-Peniche, H H Montaldo, M Valencia-Posadas, G R Wiggans, S M Hubbard, J A Torres-Vázquez, L Shepard
Journal of Dairy Science 2012, 95 (5): 2707-17
To aid in improvement of breeding programs for production and reproduction traits of US dairy goats, breed differences over time were documented and genetic parameters were estimated. Data were from herds with ≥2 breeds (Alpine, LaMancha, Nubian, Oberhasli, Saanen, or Toggenburg), but only purebred data were analyzed. Three kidding periods were examined: 1976 through 1984, 1985 through 1994, and 1995 through 2005. Univariate repeatability mixed models were used to estimate least squares means by kidding period-breed and genetic parameters for milk, fat, and protein yields, combined fat and protein yield, fat and protein percentages, protein:fat ratio, age at first kidding, and kidding interval. Trends across kidding periods were favorable for most yield traits for all breeds but generally unfavorable for reproduction traits. Saanens had the highest milk (1,063 to 1,125 kg) and protein yields (31 to 33 kg). Nubians had the highest fat yields (37 to 40 kg) and lowest milk yields (791 to 851 kg). Oberhaslis had the lowest fat (31 to 33 kg) and protein (23 to 27 kg) yields. Alpines had the largest increase in milk yield (7.4%); Oberhaslis had the largest increase in protein (17.4%) and combined fat and protein (13.2%) yields. Combined fat and protein yield was higher for Nubians, Saanens, and Alpines (65 to 72 kg) than for LaManchas, Toggenburgs, and Oberhaslis (53 to 67 kg). Nubians had the highest fat (4.7 to 4.8%) and protein (3.6 to 3.8%) percentages. Only Nubians increased in fat percentage (2.1%); protein percentage increased most for Toggenburgs (7.4%) and Alpines (7.1%). Protein:fat ratio was highest for Toggenburgs (0.84 to 0.89) and lowest for Nubians (0.76 to 0.81), but Nubians had the largest increase in protein:fat ratio (6.6%). Saanens were oldest at first kidding (509 to 589 d), and Toggenburgs and LaManchas generally were youngest (435 to 545 d); age at first kidding increased most for Alpines (21.8%) and LaManchas (21.6%). Kidding intervals generally were shorter for Oberhaslis, LaManchas, and Nubians (350 to 377 d) than for Toggenburgs, Alpines, and Saanens (373 to 387 d). Kidding interval increased most for Nubians (3.9%) and Saanens (3.8%) and decreased only for Oberhaslis (5.4%). Heritability estimates across breeds were 0.35 for milk and fat yields, 0.37 for protein yield and protein:fat ratio, 0.36 for combined fat and protein yield, 0.52 for fat percentage, 0.54 for protein percentage, 0.23 for age at first kidding, and 0.05 for kidding interval. Genetic selection within breed is feasible for production and reproduction traits of US dairy goats.

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