* Animal Improvement Programs Laboratory
Bovine Functional Genomics Laboratory, Agricultural Research Service, USDA, Beltsville, MD 20705-2350
Animal and Dairy Science Department, University of Georgia, Athens 30602
G. R. Wiggans, e-mail:
Variance components for a sire-maternal grandsire (MGS) threshold model were estimated from subsets of the US calving ease (CE) database, which includes over 10 million calving records with CE scored 1 (no problem) to 5 (extreme difficulty). Selected records included sire and MGS among the 2601 most frequently appearing bulls. The data were further restricted by requiring at least 20 records in each herd year. Five mutually exclusive sample datasets of approximately 200,000 records each were created based on herd code. The model included random herd-year, sire, MGS, and residual effects and fixed year-season, parity-sex, and birth year of sire and MGS effects. Fewer than 50 iterations were required to reach convergence. The (co)variance component estimates from the five replicates were quite similar. The set of estimates (0.438, herd-year; 0.022, sire; 0.016, MGS; 0.009, sire-MGS) that yielded among the highest heritabilities (0.086, direct; 0.048, maternal) and a correlation of direct and maternal effects near the mean (-0.12) was selected for use in the implementation of a sire-MGS model for CE.
Key Words: calving ease · dystocia · threshold model
Abbreviations: CE = calving ease · MGS = maternal grandsire
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