|AIPL||Animal Improvement Programs
Laboratory. Remember, not all labs have microscopes or test tubes. A
laboratory at USDA is a research unit. AIPL does research on dairy
performance records, and the methods used to analyze the records. AIPL is part
of BARC (Beltsville Agricultural Research Center)
which is part of ARS (Agricultural Research
Service), one of the three agencies of the REE
(Research, Extension and Education) area of USDA, and the principal research
agency of USDA.
|DHIA||Dairy Herd Improvement
Associations were organized in the early 20th century. Their mission was
to improve dairy production through better breeding. By keeping performance
records on many cows, DHIA provide farmers with the information they needed to
decide which cows were the best cows for breeding. Today in the U.S., 32 DHI
affiliates manage data collection and milk component testing.
|DRPC||Six Dairy Record Processing
Centers are contracted by DHIA affiliates to manage data. Centers are
located in North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Utah, California, and
Texas. The DRPC prepare reports for producers, and compile data to forward to
|Heritability||The degree to which the phenotype (expression
of a trait that you can measure, or describe like how much milk, or what color
hair) of an animal is likely to predict the expression of that trait in the
offspring of the animal. How likely is it for a cow that
produces a lot of milk to have a daughter that produces a lot of
Ability is the predicted difference of a parent animal's offspring from
average, due to the genes transmitted from that parent. Each PTA is given in
the units used to measure the trait. The PTA for milk is
reported in pounds or kilograms, the PTA for productive life is reported in
|Reliability||Sometimes called repeatability,
|SCS||Somatic Cell Score is
calculated from the Somatic Cell Count (SCC). When milk is produced, a small
number of cells, are also transferred to the milk (along with the proteins,
fat, water, and minerals that make up milk). Although all milk contains some of
these cells, milk quality is affected if they are present in very high numbers.
Milk processors limit the amount they will allow in milk they buy from farmers.
Also, knowing the SCS for an individual cow can help the farmer tell if the cow
is healthy because irritation in the udder can cause higher SCS. Health
management has the biggest effect on SCS, but just like some people inherit a
higher chance of getting ear infections, cows can inherit traits which cause
higher SCS. Next to traits like milk or protein production, SCS has a low heritability.
|Statistical Analysis||A way of using mathematical formulas to make
predictions. For example: sports stats' use
a players actual performance numbers to predict how they will perform in future
situations. A model' is an equation
that explains the type of prediction being made.
A simple model might be used to predict how many home runs a player will hit after the All Star Break, based on how many they hit in the first half of the season. By plugging the numbers for an individual player, we can make a prediction: If Sammy Sosa hit 30 HR in the first half of the season, he will hit 60 HR for the season.
A more complex model for the same problem might also include adjustment factors for who his opponents are, where games are held, or even his health or age.
An even more complex model might also use the past performance of other players in similar situations to help improve the accuracy of the prediction.