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Articles by Powell, R. L.
Articles by Norman, H. D.

J. Dairy Sci. 88:3679-3687
© American Dairy Science Association, 2005.

Impact of Estimated Genetic Correlations on International Evaluations to Predict Milk Traits

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

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

Corresponding author: Rex L. Powell; e-mail: rpowell{at}aipl.arsusda.gov .

The Interbull procedure for combining dairy bull evaluations uses estimated genetic correlations between countries. It is important to know whether the resulting difficulties from differences in ranking in each country are justified by improved accuracy relative to a system assuming unity correlations. Data submitted for the May 2001 yield and somatic cell score (SCS) Interbull evaluations were processed once with the usual estimated genetic correlations (E01) and again assuming these correlations to be essentially unity (0.995; U01). The 2 sets of resulting evaluations were compared with August 2004 national evaluations (N04) for bulls not having local evaluations used in the 2001 evaluations. Thus, the examination was of Interbull evaluations from foreign data in predicting national evaluations. Countries in the study for yield were Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Great Britain, Ireland, Italy, The Netherlands, New Zealand, and the United States. Countries included for SCS were Canada, France, Germany, Great Britain, The Netherlands, and the United States. For most countries’ evaluations, standard deviations of differences between E01 or U01 and N04 were smaller for E01 by about 5 to 7% and correlations between E01 and N04 were higher by 0.01 or the same as for U01 and N04. Although use of estimated correlations tended to improve prediction, the advantage was small. A previous study had concluded no difference in accuracy for yield but did not include Australia and New Zealand, countries with the lowest correlations with other countries. Excluding bulls from those countries produced results for the other 8 countries more like the previous study, but still favoring E01 slightly. Those 2 countries were not in the SCS data. Estimated genetic correlations improved the prediction of future national evaluations slightly in most countries but more substantially for the evaluations and bulls of Australia and New Zealand.

Key Words: bull evaluation · genetics · Interbull · international evaluation

Abbreviations: Interbull = International Bull Evaluation Service · MACE = multiple-trait across-country evaluation · SD = standard deviation.

Copyright © 2005 by the American Dairy Science Association.