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J Dairy Sci. 2010 Sep;93(9):4427-34. doi: 10.3168/jds.2009-2915.

Relationship between female fertility and production traits in Canadian Holsteins.

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Guelph Food Research Centre, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Guelph, ON, Canada, N1G 5C9.


The objectives of this study were a) to estimate the genetic correlation between milk production and some female fertility traits such as 56-d nonreturn rate in cows (NRRC), calving to first service (CTFS), and first service to conception (FSTC); b) to assess the influence of including milk production as a correlated trait on the genetic evaluation of these traits in Canadian Holsteins; and c) to determine if using heifer nonreturn rate (NRRH) had a similar effect as using milk production on cow NRRC evaluation. The data included fertility and production records of first-parity Holstein cows. Genetic parameters were estimated using uni- and bivariate analyses in which milk production at around 90 DIM (TD90M) was included as a correlated trait to NRRC, CTFS, and FTSC. A bivariate analysis was also carried out in which NRRH was included as a correlated trait to NRRC. The models were compared by genetic trend (NRRC, CTFS, and FSTC) and cross-validation and predictability (NRRC). The heritability estimates for NRRC from the uni- and bivariate analyses were 0.017 and 0.020, respectively. The corresponding figures for CTFS were 0.07 and 0.08 and for FSTC were 0.049 and 0.05. The genetic trends for NRRC of the 2 models (NRRC+TD90M and NRRC+NRRH) gave very similar results. However, when milk production was included in the genetic evaluation of CTFS and FSTC, the genetic trends of the 2 fertility traits were higher compared with the univariate analysis. In NRRC evaluation by cross-validation and predictability, the bivariate analyses were more consistent and gave a better predictability than the univariate analysis. However, there was no major difference between the 2 models. Consequently, it might be worth including milk production or heifer fertility as correlated traits in the genetic evaluation of female fertility traits.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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