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J Dairy Sci. 1999 May;82(5):1034-44.

Comparison of methods for genetic evaluation of sires for survival of their daughters in the first three lactations.

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Department of Animal and Poultry Science, University of Guelph, ON, Canada.


Several approaches for analysis of survival in the first three lactations were compared using data from approximately 700,000 Canadian Holsteins. Two approaches (linear model and threshold model) were used to analyze a binary measure of survival. Other approaches were survival analyses to evaluate two measures of the number of days that cows were in milk during their first three lactations. One measure restricted days per lactation to < or = 305; the other was based on the actual number of days in milk without an upper limit on days per lactation. Variance components and breeding values (EBV) were estimated. Sire models were used almost exclusively, but one set of EBV was obtained using a linear animal model. Effects in the models were herd-year of calving, age at first calving, interaction of several factors related to herd, and production. Thus, all EBV were for functional herd life. Heritabilities were approximately 0.04, 0.07, and 0.10 from linear, threshold, and survival analyses, respectively. Correlations among sire EBV from all analyses using sire models were high, particularly for linear and threshold models (0.98). In contrast, correlations of EBV from sire models with EBV from the linear animal model were less than 0.90, regardless of the approach taken. In Canada, the current linear animal model remains in use for sire evaluation of herd life, but research with survival analyses will continue.

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