ABSTRACT Genetic evaluations for the length of productive life based on actual DHIA culling data have been available in the US since January 1994. Although substantial genetic variation in productive life exists, the reliability of selection is often low, particularly for recently progeny-tested bulls having daughters that have not yet had an opportunity to be culled. Correlated production and conformation traits, which have higher heritability than productive life and are available earlier in life, may be used to enhance evaluations of productive life for young bulls that have little or no direct culling information available. Genetic correlations between productive life and milk, fat, dairy form, and udder traits ranged from +0.22 to +0.46. The maximum reliability of the indirect prediction of productive life from 16 correlated type and production traits was 0.56, and the maximum reliability from a subset of 10 traits was 0.51. Indirect information about productive life that was derived from type and production traits was combined with actual culling information to increase the total amount of available information for many recently progeny-tested bulls. The procedures described herein for enhancing direct evaluations for the productive life of dairy sires with indirect information about production and type were implemented by the USDA Animal Improvement Programs Laboratory and the Holstein Association USA in July 1994.
Key Words: productive life, herd life, conformation, indirect prediction
1998 J. Dairy Sci. 81:2040-2044
© 1998, by the American Dairy Science Association. All rights reserved.