The milk yield of dams and its relation to direct and maternal genetic components of weaning weight in beef cattle
Cortés Lacruz, Xavier
Casasús Pueyo, Isabel
Sanz Pascua, Albina
Blanco Alibés, Mireia
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Cow milk yield is a critical component for the growth of the calves in the preweaning period. The genetic correlation between direct weaning weight and milk yield traits may cause a decrease in the maternal ability of cows when they are selected for the direct weaning weight of the calf. The objective of this study was to analyse the genetic and environmental components of some traits of interest in beef cattle breeds managed in mountain conditions by analysing the actual cumulative milk yield at 150 days obtained by milking (MY150) and the weight at birth (BW), at 90 days (W90), at weaning (W150), and mature weight (MW). Genetic evaluations were conducted using field data from 2679 calves born from 553 dams of Parda de Montaña beef cattle breed. The variances, genetic (both direct and maternal) and phenotypic, were estimated by a multi-trait animal model. Milk yield was correlated with maternal components of calf weight at 90 days and 150 days (genetic correlations of 0.59 and 0.48, respectively) and also correlated with a direct genetic component of W90 and W150 (genetic correlations of 0.58 and 0.54, respectively). The maternal heritability values for W90 and W150 were 0.023 (0.005) and 0.009 (0.004), respectively. The estimates of the direct-maternal genetic correlation for W90 and W150 were − 0.13 (0.11) and − 0.34 (0.16), respectively. Environmental effects, especially the sex of calf and dam parity for direct genetic effects and energy level of cow and body condition at calving for maternal effects, should be included in the evaluation models to obtain a proper estimation of genetic parameters for beef cattle evaluation. Genetic milk yield explains half the variation of maternal effects for W90 and W150. The prediction of milk yield will be better using maternal effects at 90 days than at 150 days. The combined index (maternal and direct) for the trait weight at 150 days yielded the highest economic response increasing the direct effect indirectly without decreasing the maternal effect at 150 days.
Is part ofLivestock Science, 2017, vol. 202, p. 143-149
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