Direct and correlated responses to selection for milk yield: Results and conclusions of regional project NC-2, "improvement of dairy cattle through breeding, with emphasis on selection"

S. C. Kelm, A. E. Freeman, A. L. Brundage, R. E. Pearson, T. G. Martin, L. D. McGilliard, L. B. Hansen, C. W. Young, H. H. Voelker, G. E. Shook, W. J. Tyler

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations

Abstract

Measurement of direct and correlated responses to single-trait selection for milk yield was the major objective of regional project NC-2. The NC-2 Technical Committee included representatives from Alaska, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, South Dakota, Wisconsin, and the USDA. All representatives, except Illinois, Kansas and Nebraska, maintained a selection line formed by using AI sires selected for high estimated transmitting abilities for milk and a second line that served as some type of a control. Stations varied in criteria for selection of bulls for control lines. Farms were managed similarly, including feeding and management of selection and control lines as one herd, random mating within line, and restricted culling policies. Selection for milk yield effectively increased milk production. All selection lines increased milk and net income per lactation more than control lines. Realized gains matched or exceeded gains expected from estimates of breeding values. Yields of milk components increased, but component percentages decreased appreciably for selection lines. Reproduction of nulliparous animals was not affected, but days open for lactating selection cows increased in some of the individual projects. Selected cows tended to have larger health costs, specifically for mammary treatment. Udder and conformation traits did not deteriorate for selection lines, although control lines with selection of sires on genetic evaluations for type received higher type scores. There should be few reservations about undesirable responses correlated with selection for milk yield.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2721-2732
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Dairy Science
Volume83
Issue number12
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2000
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Correlated response
  • Selection for milk
  • Selection response

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