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J. Dairy Sci. 86:3386-3393
© American Dairy Science Association, 2003.

Progeny Testing and Selection Intensity for Holstein Bulls in Different Countries

R. L. Powell, H. D. Norman and A. H. Sanders

Animal Improvement Programs Laboratory Agricultural Research Service, USDA, Beltsville, MD 20705-2350

Corresponding author: R. L. Powell; e-mail: rpowell@aipl.arsusda.gov.

International Bull Evaluation Service (Interbull) Holstein evaluations from February 1995 through February 2003 were used to determine characteristics of progeny testing for Holstein bulls in Australia, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, New Zealand, Sweden, The Netherlands, and the United States. The decision to graduate a bull from progeny test (PT) was assumed to have been made based on the second Interbull evaluation, and graduation was defined as the addition of 200 daughters in the period 2.5 to 4.5 yr later. Mean bull age at PT decision varied across countries by 12 mo. Mean numbers of herds and daughters ranged from 39 to 111 and 54 to 144, respectively. Countries with higher requirements for official evaluations generally had more herds and daughters but older bulls at PT decision. Mean estimated breeding values for yield traits of sires of tested bulls were most similar across countries for fat, differing by only 6.4 kg. The four countries highest for sire protein differed only by 1 kg; however, the range was 12 kg. Percentages of bulls graduated ranged from 4.4 to 14.7 across countries. Selection intensities (standardized selection differentials) tended to be about 1.0 for yield traits. Selection intensities for somatic cell score were generally unfavorable, reflecting selection for negatively correlated yield traits. Reflecting variation in national breeding goals, selection intensities for stature were positive for most countries and highly negative for New Zealand. Selection intensity for fore udder was generally the lowest among the traits examined. All but one country showed positive selection for udder support. These statistics permit comparison of the components of PT programs across country, illustrating possible opportunities for improvement.

Key Words: genetic evaluation · progeny testing · selection intensity

Abbreviations: Interbull = International Bull Evaluation Service · MGS = maternal grandsire · PT = progeny test

Copyright © 2003 by the American Dairy Science Association.