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Articles by Dechow, C. D.
Articles by VanRaden, P. M.
J. Dairy Sci. 87:3534-3541
© American Dairy Science Association, 2004.

Body Condition Scores and Dairy Form Evaluations as Indicators of Days Open in US Holsteins

C. D. Dechow1, G. W. Rogers1, L. Klei2, T. J. Lawlor2 and P. M. VanRaden3

1 Dept. of Animal Science, University of Tennessee, 2640 Morgan Circle Dr., Knoxville 37996
2 Holstein Association USA, 1 Holstein Place, Brattleboro, VT 05302
3 Animal Improvement Programs Laboratory, Agricultural Research Service, USDA, Beltsville, MD 20705-2350

Corresponding author: C. D. Dechow; e-mail: cdd1@psu.edu

The objectives of this study were to estimate genetic correlations among body condition score (BCS), dairy form, milk yield, and days open in US Holsteins and investigate the potential of using BCS or dairy form evaluations as early indicators of days open. Dairy form and BCS obtained from the Holstein Association USA, Inc., were merged with mature equivalents (ME) for milk yields and days open data from AIPL-USDA. Cows were required to be classified between 24 and 60 mo of age, before 335 d in milk (DIM) and have ME milk of at least 4537 kg. A minimum of 20 daughters per sire and 10 cows per herd-classification visit (HV) or herd-year-season of calving (HYS) were required. The final data set included 159,700 records. Heritabilities and correlations among dairy form, BCS, milk yield, and days open were estimated with multiple trait sire models. Fixed effects included age at classification for dairy form and BCS, age at calving for milk yield, HV for dairy form and BCS, HYS for milk yield and days open, DIM within lactation group for dairy form and BCS and lactation group for milk yield and days open. Correlations among dairy form, BCS, and days open were generated with and without a ME milk covariable. Correlations between ME milk and days open were generated with and without covariables for dairy form or BCS. Random effects included sire and error. The genetic correlation estimates of days open with dairy form, BCS, and ME milk were 0.48, -0.30, and 0.38, respectively. The genetic correlation estimate between days open and dairy form was 0.38 after adjustment for ME milk, whereas the genetic correlation between days open and BCS was -0.24 after adjustment for ME milk. Combining dairy form evaluations with days open evaluations for 19 recently proven bulls resulted in an average increase of 0.06 for reliability of days open evaluations. The addition of BCS evaluations did not increase reliability when dairy form observations were available.

Key Words: body condition score · dairy form · fertility

Abbreviations: DEboth = daughter equivalents for both days open and indirect traits · DEDO = daughter equivalents for days open · DEind = daughter equivalents for indirect traits · DPR = daughter pregnancy rate HV = herd-classification visit · HYS = herd-year-season · ME = mature equivalent · PADO = parent average for days open · PTABCS = predicted transmitting ability for body condition score · PTADF = predicted transmitting ability for dairy form · PTADO = predicted transmitting ability for days open · PTADOI = predicted transmitting ability for days open from indirect traits · PTAind = predicted transmitting abilities for indirect traits · PTAM = predicted transmitting ability for milk yield · RELcomb = reliability of combined predicted transmitting ability · RELdir = reliability of a direct prediction · RELDO = reliability of predicted transmitting ability for days open · RELind = reliability of an indirect prediction · RELPA = reliability of parent average · TADO = transmitting ability for days open · TAind = transmitting abilities for indirect traits.

Copyright © 2004 by the American Dairy Science Association.