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Journal of Dairy Science, Vol 75, Issue 8 2254-2264, Copyright 1992 by American Dairy Science Association


Estimates of genetic trend in an artificial insemination progeny test program and their association with herd characteristics

T. R. Meinert, R. E. Pearson and R. S. Hoyt
Department of Dairy Science, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg 24061-0315.

Individual lactation records from Holstein cows in 3449 herds participating in an AI stud's young sire sampling program from 1971 to 1987 were used to characterize the sampling program and to estimate genetic merit and trend. Average genetic merit of cows in sampling program herds was consistently superior to the average genetic merit of cows in the US population. Genetic trend of sires of first-crop cows was 58 kg of milk and 1.5 kg of fat/yr from 1971 to 1978 and 176 kg of milk and 5.5 kg of fat/yr from 1979 to 1987. The average genetic merit of sires of first-crop cows born after 1983 was equivalent to or exceeded the genetic level of sires of other cows in the herd. Within-herd-year means and standard deviations of yield, genetic evaluation, and management traits (herd-year characteristics) were computed for a subset of 341 herds contributing first-crop daughters for at least 10 yr. The average of each herd-year characteristic during 10 or more years was used to predict within-herd genetic trend. Herd characteristics explained up to 51% of differences in within-herd genetic trends. Average sire genetic merit of daughters other than first-crop daughters accounted for up to 80% of the explained differences. Other herd characteristics suggested that herds with larger within-herd standard deviation milk yields, a larger number of young sires represented, younger cows, and greater percentage of cows sired by AI sires made greater genetic improvement. Results indicated that the average genetic merit of cows and the rate of within-herd genetic improvement are higher in herds that participate in a young sire sampling program.

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Copyright 1992 by the American Dairy Science Association.