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J Dairy Sci. 2009 Aug;92(8):4055-62. doi: 10.3168/jds.2008-1896.

Relationships between reproductive traits of heifers and cows and yield traits for Holsteins in Japan.

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1
Department of Life Science and Agriculture, Obihiro University of Agriculture and Veterinary Medicine, Obihiro, 080-8555, Japan.

Abstract

The objective of this study was to investigate relationships between reproductive traits in heifers and cows and yield traits for Holsteins in Japan. Insemination and lactation records for cows calved between 1990 and 2003 in Hokkaido region were obtained. Age at first service, age at conception, and conception rate for first service were calculated for heifers. Days from calving to first service, days open, and conception rate for first service were calculated for first- and second-parity cows. The yield traits used were 305-d milk, fat, and protein yields. A threshold animal model was applied for the conception rate for first service, and a linear animal model was applied for the other traits. Single-trait and 2-trait genetic analyses were performed by the Bayesian method using Gibbs sampling. Heritability estimates ranged from 0.027 to 0.051 for conception rate for first service, and from 0.074 to 0.128 for the other reproductive traits. If the relationships of other traits were not considered, days from calving to first service was favorable to genetic selection for reproductive traits because of relatively high heritability and because it can be available earlier than the days open. Genetic correlations among reproductive traits were high, especially in cows. The genetic correlations between reproductive traits for heifers and those for cows were lower than the genetic correlations between reproductive traits for first parity and those of second parity, suggesting that reproductive traits for heifers should be evaluated separately from reproductive traits for cows. Genetic correlations between yield and reproductive traits in cows were antagonistic. In contrast, genetic correlations between reproductive traits for heifers and yield traits were slightly desirable. Depending on the reporting rate of insemination records for heifers and the results of investigations for relationships with productive maturity, selection by reproductive traits for heifers will enable the improvement of reproductive performance without a loss in genetic progress for yield traits.

PMID:
19620689
DOI:
10.3168/jds.2008-1896
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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