Estimation of (Co)Variance Components for Jersey Type Traits Using a Repeatability Model

*Fonds National Belge de la Recherche Scientifique, Unité de Zootechnie, Faculté Universitaire des Sciences Agronomiques, B-5030 Gembloux, Belgium Animal Improvement Programs Laboratory, Agricultural Research Service, USDA, Beltsville, MD 20705-2350 American Jersey Cattle Association, Reynoldsburg, OH 43068-2362

ABSTRACT (Co)variance components for final score and 15 linear type traits of Jersey cows were estimated by multitrait REML using multiple diagonalization and a repeatability model with 34,999 records of 22,354 cows. Multiple diagonalization gave relative off-diagonals (ratio of squared off-diagonals to the product of diagonals) of <0.1%. Heritabilities and repeatabilities, respectively, were estimated as 0.29 and 0.48 for final score, 0.40 and 0.57 for stature, 0.26 and 0.39 for strength, 0.28 and 0.43 for dairy form, 0.13 and 0.25 for foot angle, 0.13 and 0.25 for rear legs (side view), 0.27 and 0.41 for body depth, 0.31 and 0.52 for rump angle, 0.22 and 0.33 for thurl width, 0.22 and 0.36 for fore udder attachment, 0.28 and 0.46 for rear udder height, 0.26 and 0.42 for rear udder width, 0.32 and 0.48 for udder depth, 0.20 and 0.36 for udder cleft, 0.29 and 0.46 for front teat placement, and 0.31 and 0.48 for teat length. Estimates of heritability generally were higher, and estimates of repeatability were lower, than values used previously for USDA genetic evaluations, which were based on data from the 1970s and early 1980s. Final score was highly correlated both genetically and phenotypically with dairy form and rear udder traits. These estimates of heritabilities and (co)variance components are necessary for multitrait genetic evaluation of linear type traits of US Jerseys.

Key Words: Jersey, type traits, (co)variance, repeatability model

1997 J. Dairy Sci. 80:1801-1806

© 1997, by the American Dairy Science Association. All rights reserved.