Yield and Fertility Relationships in Dairy Cattle

L. B. Hansen, A. E. Freeman, P. J. Berger

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Measures of yield and fertility were obtained from breeding receipts of artificial insemination and records of test-day yield. Estimates of heritability were by Henderson Method 3, maximum likelihood, and restricted maximum likelihood. Heritabilities for measures of yield varied, but most were within the range of earlier estimates. Measures of fertility had heritabilities from 0 to .03. Alternative upper bounds were placed on days open, number of services, and service period, and always the measure with the lesser bound had higher heritability for first parity. Measures of yield for early stages of lactation had slight positive phenotypic correlations with fertility whereas those for measures of cumulative yield later in lactation increased in relation to effect of gestation. Genetic correlations of first-parity yield and most measures of fertility were positive and less influenced by stage of lactation than phenotypic correlations. Antagonism moderated for second parity. Most genetic correlations were not significantly different from zero for third parity. Considerable genetic antagonism of yield and fertility may be of limited consequence because estimates of genetic variance of fertility were near zero.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)293-305
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Dairy Science
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1983

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors acknowledge the assistance of D. A. Harville with statistical procedures and the financial support of Eastern Artificial Insemination Cooperative, the National Association of Animal Breeders, and Grant 1--3-79 of the USA-Israel Binational Agricultural and Development Project.


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