Submitted to: Journal of Dairy Science
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 4/20/2007
Publication Date: 8/1/2007
Citation: Norman, H.D., Wright, J.R., Powell, R.L., Van Raden, P.M., Miglior, F., De Jong, G. Consistency of Maturity Rate for Milk Yield Across Countries and Generations. Journal of Dairy Science. 90(8):3937-3944. Interpretive Summary: Apparent differences among bulls in maturity rate of daughters for milk yield across parities were examined using genetic evaluations from three countries: Canada, The Netherlands, and the United States. The consistency observed among parity-specific evaluations provided convincing evidence that differences among bulls were real and not the result of extraneous environmental effects and that those differences were transmitted from sires to sons. Considering maturity rate when calculating evaluations for milk yield should improve evaluation accuracy.
Technical Abstract: Differences among bulls in maturity rate of their daughters for milk yield were investigated. Milk records for US Holsteins with first-parity calving dates between 1960 and 1998 were used to calculate 3 evaluations for bulls based on daughter records from parity 1, parities 1 and 2, and parities 1, 2, and 3. The 3 evaluations were used to estimate parity-specific evaluations for parities 2 and 3. Maturity rate of Holstein bull daughters in Canada and The Netherlands was compared with that for daughters of the same bulls in the United States using official November 2004 Canadian and August 2005 Dutch parity-specific evaluations. For bulls with >=500 first-parity daughters, correlations among parity-specific evaluations within country and birth year of bull were 0.88 between parities 1 and 2, 0.84 between parities 1 and 3, and 0.96 for parities 2 and 3 for the United States; 0.90, 0.86, and 0.97, respectively, for Canada; and 0.92, 0.89, and 0.98 for The Netherlands. Correlations between Canada and the United States for within-country difference between evaluations for parities 1 and 2 were 0.72 for bulls with >=50 first-parity daughters and 0.89 for bulls with >=500 first-parity daughters; corresponding correlations between The Netherlands and the United States were 0.66 and 0.82. Correlations between countries for differences between evaluations for parities 1 and 3 were slightly less, and corresponding correlations between evaluations for parities 2 and 3 were still lower. To establish whether differences between parity-specific evaluations were genetic, comparisons were made across a generation. Coefficients for regression of son on sire within country and birth years of sire and son for parity-specific evaluations and differences between parity-specific evaluations ranged from 0.42 to 0.53 with standard errors of <=0.04. Differences in maturity rate of bull daughters were quite consistent across country, and those differences were transmitted to sons’ daughters. Modeling to account for maturity differences should increase accuracy of US evaluations and reduce fluctuation between evaluations, especially for bulls with daughters that deviate substantially from the population mean for maturity rate for milk yield.