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J. Dairy Sci. 2009. 92:2224-2228. doi:10.3168/jds.2008-1653
2009 American Dairy Science Association

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Impact of genetic merit for milk somatic cell score of sires and maternal grandsires on herd life of their daughters

R. H. Miller1, H. D. Norman, J. R. Wright and J. B. Cole

Animal Improvement Programs Laboratory, ARS, USDA, Beltsville, MD 20705-2350

1 Corresponding author: millerrh{at}juno.com

A retrospective study of the impact of the estimated breeding values of sires and maternal grandsires for somatic cell score (SCS) on productive life (PL) of Holsteins and Jerseys was conducted. Data included records from 2,626,425 Holstein and 142,725 Jersey cows. The sires and maternal grandsires of cows were required to have been available through artificial insemination and to have predicted transmitting ability (PTA) SCS evaluations based on 35 or more daughters. A weighted function (WPTA) of sire and maternal grandsire PTA for SCS was used: (sire PTA + 0.5 maternal grandsire PTA)/1.5. The 3 dependent variables were PL, frequency of cows culled for mastitis, and first-lactation SCS. The model included effects of herd, birth year, and WPTA (WPTA was categorized into groups: <2.70, 2.70 to 2.79, ..., 3.20 to 3.29, ≥3.30). For analysis of first-lactation SCS, calving year and calving month were substituted for birth year. Differences among WPTA groups were highly significant: as WPTA increased, PL decreased, whereas percentage culled for mastitis and first-lactation SCS increased. The range in PL from lowest to highest WPTA was 5.07 mo for Holsteins and 4.73 mo for Jerseys. Corresponding differences for percentage culled for mastitis were 7.0 and 5.6% and for SCS were 0.95 and 1.04 (for Holsteins and Jerseys, respectively). Although phenotypic studies suggest that cows with extremely low SCS were less resistant to mastitis, our results showed consistent improvements in PL, percentage culled for mastitis, and SCS of daughters when bulls were chosen for low PTA SCS.

Key Words: selection mastitis culling







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