Animal Production Science Animal Production Science Society
Food, fibre and pharmaceuticals from animals
RESEARCH ARTICLE

Bayesian estimates of genetic relationship between calving difficulty and productive and reproductive performance in Holstein cows

Navid Ghavi Hossein-Zadeh A B , Mohammad Hossein Salimi A and Abdol Ahad Shadparvar A
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A Department of Animal Science, Faculty of Agricultural Sciences, University of Guilan, Rasht, 41635-1314, Iran.

B Corresponding author. Email: nhosseinzadeh@guilan.ac.ir; navid.hosseinzadeh@gmail.com

Animal Production Science - https://doi.org/10.1071/AN16186
Submitted: 24 March 2016  Accepted: 29 September 2016   Published online: 23 November 2016

Abstract

The objective of present study was to estimate genetic correlations between calving difficulty and productive and reproductive traits in Iranian Holsteins. Calving records from the Animal Breeding Center of Iran, collected from 1991 to 2011 and comprising 183 203 first-calving events of Holstein cows from 1470 herds were included in the dataset. Threshold animal models included direct genetic effect (Model 1) or direct and maternal genetic effects with covariance between them (Model 2) were fitted for the genetic analysis of calving difficulty. Also, linear animal models including direct genetic effect were fitted for the genetic analysis of productive and reproductive performance traits. A set of linear-threshold bivariate models was used for obtaining genetic correlation between calving difficulty and other traits. All analyses were implemented by Bayesian approach via Gibbs sampling methodology. A single Gibbs sampling chain with 300 000 rounds was generated by the TM program. Posterior mean estimates of direct heritabilities for calving difficulty were 0.056 and 0.066, obtained from different models. Also, posterior mean estimate of maternal heritability for this trait was 0.018. Estimate of correlation between direct and maternal genetic effects for calving difficulty was negative (–0.44). Posterior mean estimates of direct heritabilities for milk yield, fat yield, protein yield, days from calving to first service, days open and first calving interval were 0.257, 0.188, 0.235, 0.034, 0.042 and 0.050 respectively. The posterior means of direct genetic correlation between calving difficulty and milk yield, fat yield, protein yield, days from calving to first service, days open and first calving interval were low and equal to –0.135, 0.030, –0.067, –0.010, –0.075 and –0.074 respectively. The results of the current study indicated that exploitable genetic variation in calving difficulty, productive and reproductive traits could be applied in designing future genetic selection plans for Iranian Holsteins.

Additional keywords: Bayesian approach, dairy cow, dystocia, genetic correlation, milk yield.


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