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Trends in milk production, calving rate and survival of cows in 14 Irish dairy herds as a result of the introgression of Holstein-Friesian genes



Trends in milk production, calving rate and survival of cows in 14 Irish dairy herds as a result of the introgression of Holstein-Friesian genes



Animal science: an international journal of fundamental and applied research 82(4): 423-433



Trends in milk production, calving rates, and survival were monitored on a potential 5580 primiparous and multiparous Holstein-Friesian dairy cows across 14 Irish seasonal spring-calving dairy farms between the years 1990 and 2001. Over this period calving rate to first service (CALV1) reduced by 0.96% per year (55 to 44%; P< 0.001), calving rate to first and second service (CALV12) reduced by 0.84% per year (77 to 70%; P< 0.001) and herd average parity number reduced by 0.10 lactation per year (4.3 to 3.5; P<0.001). The proportion of North American Holstein Friesian (NAHF) genes in the cows increased by 5.5% per year (8 to 63%; P<0.001), while pedigree index for milk yield (PI(MILK)) of the cows increased by 25 kg per year (P<0.001). The predicted difference of the sires of the cows for calving interval and survival increased by 0.5 days (P<0.001) and reduced by 0.12% (P<0.001) per year, respectively. A negative association was found between increased phenotypic milk yield, NAHF and PI(MILK) and reduced calving rates as assessed by CALV1 and CALV12. Increased proportion of NAHF genes exhibited a negative effect on survival (P<0.001) whereas increased levels of heterosis had a positive impact on survival (P<0.001). The results of the present study indicate that in seasonal calving herds in Ireland a need for direct selection on traits related to fertility and survival is required to arrest and reverse the declining trends in calving rates and survival.

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Accession: 013275731

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DOI: 10.1079/asc200660


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