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Articles by Cole, J. B.
Articles by VanRaden, P. M.
J. Dairy Sci. 88:1529-1539
© American Dairy Science Association, 2005.

Genetic Evaluation of Calving Ease for Brown Swiss and Jersey Bulls from Purebred and Crossbred Calvings

J. B. Cole, R. C. Goodling, Jr., G. R. Wiggans and P. M. VanRaden

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

Corresponding author: J. B. Cole; e-mail: jcole@aipl.arsusda.gov.

The objective of this study was to examine the feasibility of implementing routine national calving ease (CE) genetic evaluations of Brown Swiss (BS) and Jersey (JE) sires that include records of crossbred calvings. Records were available for 11,793 BS calvings, 3431 BS-sired crosses, 65,293 JE calvings, and 7090 JE-sired crosses. Evaluations were performed for each breed using only purebred calvings and using both purebred and crossbred calvings. In the latter evaluations, the sire-maternal grandsire model used for the routine evaluation of Holstein (HO) CE was modified to include a fixed breed composition effect to account for differences between purebred and crossbred calvings. Jersey cows had very little calving difficulty (0.5 to 0.7%) and JE bulls had a very small range of evaluations, suggesting that a routine JE evaluation would be of little value. Results from the BS evaluations suggest a routine evaluation would provide BS breeders with a useful tool for genetic improvement. Further examination of data showed that many BS calvings were in mixed herds with HO calvings. As a result, a joint evaluation for BS and HO bulls was developed. The BS data showed that there is similar genetic variability as found in the HO population, which suggests implementation of a routine evaluation including BS CE would be of value. It appears BS bulls may produce daughters with superior maternal calving ability compared with HO. Validation of the joint evaluation was performed by comparing results with the routine HO evaluation. Holstein solutions from the joint evaluation were comparable to results from the routine HO-only evaluation. Correlations among solutions and evaluations showed HO evaluations were not adversely affected by BS data and BS sires were reranked as compared with the BS-only evaluation.

Key Words: calving ease · crossbred · genetic evaluation · purebred

Abbreviations: BH = dataset with BS-sired pure-bred calvings, HO-sired purebred calvings, and BS-sired calvings from HO dams · BS = Brown Swiss · BSc = dataset with all calvings in BSp plus BS-sired crossbred calvings · BSp = dataset with BS-sired purebred calvings · CE = calving ease · %DBH = percentage of difficult births in heifers · DCE = daughter calving ease · HO = Holstein · JE = Jersey · JEc = dataset with all calvings in JEp plus JE-sired crossbred calvings · JEp = dataset with JE-sired purebred calvings MGS = maternal grandsire · SCE = service-sire calving ease · S-MGS = sire-maternal grandsire.

Copyright © 2005 by the American Dairy Science Association.