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J. Dairy Sci. 87:2614-2620
© American Dairy Science Association, 2004.

Stability of Genetic Evaluations for Active Artificial Insemination Bulls

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

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

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

Genetic evaluations for milk, fat, and protein from 1995 through August 2003 for 17,987 Holstein bulls in active artificial insemination (AI) service were examined for changes to the November 2003 evaluation. Evaluations for active AI bulls at each of 31 evaluation dates showed mean declines to November 2003. No evidence was seen of a worsening situation over time. Bullsí early evaluations with active AI status showed much larger declines, but this overevaluation diminished and essentially disappeared after 3 yr. The bulls with first active AI evaluations since 1995 were the primary focus of the study. The influx of second-crop daughters did not appear to cause a decline in evaluations for these bulls, attesting to the successful modification to the genetic evaluation system by expanding the genetic variance of short records. Mean declines and the variation of those differences were generally similar by bull sampling organization. A change from active to inactive AI status was generally concurrent with a decline in predicted transmitting ability (PTA). Bulls coded as having standard AI sampling declined less than bulls coded as having other sampling, but the differences were much less than in previous reports. Larger increases in reliability were generally associated with greater declines in PTA, and the magnitude of these changes decreased over time (increasing evaluation number). Change in reliability underpredicted the variance of change in PTA, indicating that other important factors contribute or that the assumptions for the calculation of the expected change in PTA are not met. Declines in estimated merit over time are not sufficient to alter present genetic selection programs, but reasons for the declines continue to elude explanation.

Key Words: bull evaluation · evaluation stability · artificial insemination · genetics

Abbreviations: NAAB = National Association of Animal Breeders · REL = reliability

Copyright © 2004 by the American Dairy Science Association.