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Genetic relationships among body condition score, body weight, milk yield, and fertility in dairy cows


Genetic relationships among body condition score, body weight, milk yield, and fertility in dairy cows



Journal of Dairy Science 86(6): 2193-2204



ISSN/ISBN: 0022-0302

PMID: 12836956

DOI: 10.3168/jds.s0022-0302(03)73809-0

Genetic (co)variances between body condition score (BCS), body weight (BW), milk production, and fertility-related traits were estimated. The data analyzed included 8591 multiparous Holstein-Friesian cows with records for BCS, BW, milk production, and/or fertility from 78 seasonal calving grass-based farms throughout southern Ireland. Of the cows included in the analysis, 4402 had repeated records across the 2 yr of the study. Genetic correlations between level of BCS at different stages of lactation and total lactation milk production were negative (-0.51 to -0.14). Genetic correlations between BW at different stages of lactation and total lactation milk production were all close to zero but became positive (0.01 to 0.39) after adjusting BW for differences in BCS. Body condition score at different stages of lactation correlated favorably with improved fertility; genetic correlations between BCS and pregnant 63 d after the start of breeding season ranged from 0.29 to 0.42. Both BW at different stages of lactation and milk production tended to exhibit negative genetic correlations with pregnant to first service and pregnant 63 d after the start of the breeding season and positive genetic correlations with number of services and the interval from first service to conception. Selection indexes investigated illustrate the possibility of continued selection for increased milk production without any deleterious effects on fertility or average BCS, albeit, genetic merit for milk production would increase at a slower rate.

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Accession: 004174664

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